Sunday, January 10, 2021

YOU CAN'T FIT A SQUARE FOOT INTO A ROUND SLIPPER - Isaiah 61 Devotional #2

 

"...The Lord has anointed [and] commissioned Me to bring good news to the humble and afflicted..."
– Isaiah 61:1b (AMP)
 
There, on a hazel tree, sat two pigeons, crying out:
Rook di goo,
Rook di goo!
There's blood in the shoe.
The shoe is too tight.
This bride is not right!
 

Just another sweet little G-rated fairy tale by that 19th-century duo, The Brothers Grimm. When I was six years old, my mother would read me a fairy tale every bedtime. But, purist that she was, they had to be from the same dusty old tomes of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm that she had cut her own teeth on a few decades earlier. Funny thing ... I never experienced childhood trauma or suffered nightmares with scenes of bloody mayhem such as Cinderella's prissy siblings dismembering their own feet to fit into the golden shoe. (No, it was NOT a glass slipper! I suppose Disney didn't have the budget to write proper slippers -- of pure gold -- into their candy-coated version.)

 

Continuing the story ... once the hazel-pigeons had ratted out those two little angels with their frenetically-modified appendages ...

 

"Don't you have another daughter?" asked the prince.

 

"No," said the father. "Only a deformed little Cinderella from my first wife, but she cannot possibly be the bride."

 

"Oh, no," agreed the stepmother, "She is much too dirty. She cannot be seen."

 

But the prince insisted on it, and ... you know the rest of the story.

 

"The Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor," our Savior said, reading in the synagogue from Isaiah 61. (Or "the meek." Or "the humble and afflicted," as rendered by other translations.)

 

In fact, the Cinderella story has been retold in various forms and by numerous cultures since ... by wondrous coincidence! ... right about the time of Jesus' own life and ministry on Earth. Fairy tales, as a genre, have been common currency across the ages because they contain the stuff of life: the wealthy and the poor, the lofty and the afflicted, good vs. evil, hope vs. despair.

 

This world's wise and wealthy expect divine favor by virtue of their status. Sure, I'll squeeze my foot into the Prince's golden slipper. What's an extra few toes, between friends? But Jesus didn't come to rub elbows with the wise and wealthy (unless they set those things aside to follow Him, of course); He came to bring good news to regular people like you and me. Because those lofty folk had "blood in the shoe."

 

In the Parable of the Great Banquet, after all the influential guests scorned the Lord's invitation, he "... became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'" (Luke 14:21, NIV)

 

The Wise Men sought Jesus in a king's palace ... but the shepherds had already found him lying in a manger. The chief priests and rulers expected a Messiah in shining armor, riding forth to crush the Roman invader ... but the "humble and afflicted" had already found a lowly carpenter riding a donkey into Jerusalem where he would make the ultimate sacrifice and break their yoke of affliction. 

 

What does this mean for us, His disciples? "As the Father has sent me, so also I am sending you," said Jesus before ascending to his throne.

 


Why not pray ...  

"Dear Father, forgive me for all the ways I've favored people for their status, their wealth, and all the other things this world values, and ignored the poor, the humble, and the afflicted. Fill me with the love of Jesus so I'll be a bearer of good news to the poor and afflicted who cross my path.
In Jesus' name. Amen"

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Originally published as a “Bradstix” devotional on the National Minute of Prayer Facebook page 1/10/2021.