Isaiah 45:1-7 Proper 24 October 18
Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him– and the gates shall not be closed:
     I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron,
     I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
     For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.
     I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me,
     so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
     I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the LORD do all these things.
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The word translated here from the Hebrew word for “messiah” is anointed. In the Hebrew tradition anointing was done to kings, priests and prophets. How do you suppose those in exile in Babylonia felt about being liberated, delivered, and even saved by a messiah, an anointed one, or one who is not Jewish? Why might God choose one such as Cyrus to lead the Hebrew people home?

What do you know about exile in our world? Who are the exiles and where are they exiled to? What kinds of exiles are there? How might one be in exile in one’s own country or church or family?

How might one be exiled from or even within oneself? What do you know of that part of yourself that you keep at arm’s length? What is your Babylon? Who is your Cyrus? What is the cost and the promise of following him or her home?