By Pamela D Couture
Read this passage again aloud. Breathe in and out with each phrase. Pray its cadence. Then focus on the meaning of the words – the beauty of the royal image. Jesse’s royal lineage is remembered for its reach toward goodness; a new king will grow from its stock. This king will embody the most important virtues for leadership – wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. His personal qualities will be beckoned forth by the Spirit of the Lord that rests upon him. He will not be fooled by appearances or tempted by deceit. This king will adjudicate conflicts, aware both of those who make themselves easily known and those who are hidden in the byways. This king will judge with the poor and the meek in mind.
Hurricane Katrina created a rare moment in the national life of the United States. The general public saw the poor and the meek–‘those who are normally hidden. Twelve years hence, many people from Louisiana and Mississippi know Katrina not as an event of the past but as a reality shaping their present. People have felt the effect of human judgments. The actions of various leaders may or may not have been generally helpful.
Where have those most affected by this disaster found leadership that approximates the measure of virtue of the messianic king for whose corning we now prepare? They have found it in those who take seriously their discipleship, in those who have responded “unofficially” with gifts of hope, food, shelter, and love. Let us call to mind the sights of the poor and the meek whose image may have receded. Let us meditate on the goodness of the messianic king we seek. Let us also seek to imitate the messianic king, the Christ we have found. Let us disciple ourselves to Christ’s wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Spirit of the Lord, bring to our view those who get ready attention and those who live in obscurity. Create us for wisdom that guides us to follow in Christ’s ways. Amen.