Isaiah 56:1-8 The Message
“Guard my common good:
Do what’s right and do it in the right way,
For salvation is just around the corner,
my setting-things-right is about to go into action.
How blessed are you who enter into these things,
you men and women who embrace them,
Who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
who watch your step and don’t do anything evil!
Make sure no outsider who now follows GOD
ever has occasion to say,
‘GOD put me in second-class.
I don’t really belong.’
And make sure no physically mutilated person
is ever made to think,
‘I’m damaged goods.
I don’t really belong.'”
For GOD says:
“To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths
and choose what delights me
and keep a firm grip on my covenant,
I’ll provide them an honored place
in my family and within my city,
even more honored than that of sons and daughters.
I’ll confer permanent honors on them
that will never be revoked.
“And as for the outsiders who now follow me,
working for me, loving my name,
and wanting to be my servants—
All who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it,
holding fast to my covenant—
I’ll bring them to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’
to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.
Oh yes, my house of worship
will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”
The Decree of the Master, GOD himself,
who gathers in the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather others also,
gather them in with those already gathered.”
So to us
Christ gives eternal life,—
He Who was crucified,
Through the Power of Love.
Our Lord is in our hearts
And flesh and blood,
Helping us always.
Why should we speak
As though it were
Jesus is not dead;
Still as of old,
He seeks His sheep.
The Christ is everywhere:—
The lepers find Him
In their dark despair;
He shines in the grey dawn
Beyond the dungeon bars;
And by our death beds
He is there!
Children of Japan,
Dumb in defeat,
Struggling to live,
Wipe, wipe away your tears,
Look at the living Christ;
Here at your side.
—Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960)
Interpreted by Lois J. Erickson
from “The Living Christ” in Songs from the Land of Dawn
(New York: Friendship Press, 1949)