April 11, 2017


Isaiah 49:1-7

This is what the Lord says . . . “the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

—  Isaiah 49:7

We were lost. Dad left when I was four. I recall riding a bus with Mom and my little brother. Where were we going? “To Aunt Jessie’s,” she said. I liked Mom’s sister but didn’t understand we were moving there. My aunt and uncle had decided they had to help my now single, working mother raise her two sons.

Isaiah 49 brings that memory to mind, especially during Holy Week. My aunt and uncle didn’t just give us a home; they embraced us as part of their family. With their daughter we became what today would be called a “blended family.” It became quite happy. My uncle, who died years ago, wasn’t religious; yet by embracing us he became a “God the Father” figure for me. And very late in life God raised in him faith in Christ.

God chose Israel before her birth. He remained faithful to his people although they wandered, so that Israel could become “a light for the Gentiles.” He made his people a nation that the world would know as God’s chosen. Isaiah received God’s promise some 700 years before Jesus fulfilled it on the road to Jerusalem. Now God’s Son would bring salvation to all peoples, Gentiles as well as Jews. Jesus trekked resolutely toward Good Friday’s cross to redeem his people and make them the light of the world. Chosen!

Thank you, God, for choosing us when we were lost and didn’t know it! As Jesus approaches the cross to fulfill your promises, open our eyes and make us grateful believers. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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