“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6 )
As I looked at this, and pondered on the verse, I got to wondering . . . why the capital “Y”? And I suspect the reason is this; the writer of Isaiah is presumed to be talking about Jesus the Messiah. And I can understand and appreciate that.
But it also makes me a little sad. I like to believe that God calls people out to be involved in ministry and to carry forth God’s mission in the world. But if the “You” in this verse is Christ, it seems that we are just “spectators” watching God’s plan unfold. And I don’t think that God really intends that for humanity. Why create (and can we just gloss over the whole creation versus anything/everything else discussion?) humanity if humans are not to be used? Does God really need an audience?
And it makes me confused. Why would God have to hold Christ’s hand? And watch over Him? Is Christ the only one who is a light to the nations? Christ said WE are to be a light to the nations, a city on a hill, salty salt etc. And finally, can humans not be called in righteousness? And if not, why did Christ come to absolve our sins if not to make us worthy to be part of God’s over reaching plan? And, and . . . if not, then why is the “Church in Mission”? Why church? Why mission?
The Confession says, “The church is called to witness to the reign of Christ by embodying Jesus’ way in its own life and patterning itself after the reign of God. Thus it shows the world a sample of life under the lordship of Christ. By its life, the church is to be a city on a hill, a light to the nations.”
There are times when it is right and good to glorify Christ, giving honor and praise to our Messiah who is all things. But there is also a time for the church to dig in and work, and to be called out by God to do mission. We need to know who Christ is so we know whose example to follow. But we also need to step forward and claim the promises that God has made. We are called in righteousness by God who will hold our hand and watch over us. Our relationship to God is the covenant lived out and we are a light to the nations so that they may know our God also. May we do so! Selah!