Sunday, October 18, 2020
Sixth Sunday after the Holy Cross
 at that time the LORD had spoken by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take off your shoes from your feet,” and he had done so, walking naked and barefoot —
 the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,
 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians captives and the Ethiopians exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
 Then they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and of Egypt their boast.
 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, `Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”
 The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.
As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on,
it comes from the desert,
from a terrible land.
 A stern vision is told to me;
the plunderer plunders,
and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, O Elam,
lay siege, O Media;
all the sighing she has caused
I bring to an end.
 Therefore my loins are filled with anguish;
pangs have seized me,
like the pangs of a woman in travail;
I am bowed down so that I cannot hear,
I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
 My mind reels, horror has appalled me;
the twilight I longed for
has been turned for me into trembling.
 They prepare the table,
they spread the rugs,
they eat, they drink.
Arise, O princes,
oil the shield!
 For thus the Lord said to me:
“Go, set a watchman,
let him announce what he sees.
 So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe.
 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
 So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.
 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods;
 but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more?
 You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years!
 I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.
 Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong;
 you know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first;
 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.
 What has become of the satisfaction you felt? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
 They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
 For a good purpose it is always good to be made much of, and not only when I am present with you.
 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.
 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read;
 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
 And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper’na-um, do here also in your own country.’”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America