Devotion: Each One Helps the Other (Isaiah 41:6-7)

Workers at the Boliden mining and smelting company in Rönnskär, Sweden. (1935) Photo by C.G. Rosenberg via Wikimedia Commons, adapted.

Workers at the Boliden mining and smelting company in Rönnskär, Sweden. (1935) Photo by C.G. Rosenberg via Wikimedia Commons, adapted.

Isaiah 41:6-7 NRSV
Each one helps the other,
saying to one another, “Take courage!”
The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer
encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.

This passage from Isaiah is part of a larger passage concerning trusting in the power of false gods rather than the power of the One True Living God. When trouble comes, those who do not pursue God try to handle it themselves. They huddle together to make better and stronger idols- thinking their wit, their skill, their power will turn the tide. How often believers cling to the same course of action. Lord have mercy. (Click here for a prayer on this topic entitled You Save us from Every Foe.)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, noticing this tendency in his own time and place, reminded us

Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial … They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church.

Yet, I couldn’t help being struck (haha pun intended) by the mutual encouragement and teamwork of this passage. Instead of going it alone, they join together. What would it be like to redirect these good gifts from trying to save ourselves into intentional, mutual cooperation with one another and the movement of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t this what it means to be God’s people? – Lisa <><

Each one helps the other
Lending a hand
Recognizing the gifts
Teaming up to create something
Strong and Beautiful and Lasting

“Take Courage!” one cries
All hear and are heartened
“It is Good!” another declares
Spurring on the grueling, brutal labor
It is hard and it is good
It is worthy work

One could not do it
But many can
many gifts, one spirit

And how much more
When many become
One in Spirit
One with Spirit

Holy One
Make us one
One in desiring
One in trusting
One for the Greater Good
One with one another
One with You
One in You
One for You

Each One Helps the Other © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

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