Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Reflection: v. 2, ‘good news to the oppressed’
I love the brash and revolutionary tone of the prophet Isaiah’s words. As I imagine the prophet making his bold declaration to a people in need of justice, I cannot help but to think of my fellow pastor and friend, Rev. Maurice Lattimore, and the many faithful others who have been marching for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. I think of how Rev. Lattimore has patiently and compassionately instructed and pastored people to see the hurtful truths of systemic racism. I think of his many colorful shirts and masks hand-crafted by his daughter, proclaiming words of justice and honoring the names of those killed at the hands of the police. I think of how Rev. Lattimore would not only march the streets but also show up to Mercy the next day to foster relationships and care for our community members living on the streets—prioritizing both works of justice as essential and never ever forgetting to care for the living, breathing humans standing before him. I think of Rev. Lattimore and some of the push-back and roadblocks he has faced in his steady, faithful advocacy for God’s people, and I cannot help but to think of the prophet Isaiah’s words. Good news for the oppressed will always be hard to accept for those in positions of power and privilege. Prophets proclaiming freedom will always be rejected by oppressors. But this is God’s word. God proclaims good news to the oppressed. When I read these ancient words, I want to hear the potent challenge within them and know that they must matter to me, too. I want to hear the prophet’s urgent cry in the voices of those crying out for justice today. I want to desire the justice that God longs for. As I read this passage today, I am thankful for the faithful and embodied witness and ministry of my colleague, Rev. Lattimore, who proclaims the words of God’s prophets anew.
Prayer Liberating God, help us to listen to the voices of your prophets speaking anew!