1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Our Common Calling
by Walt Shelton, J.D.
As we joyfully go through this anticipatory Advent season, may we never forget to always live with the urgency of loving and caring for others, with special attention toward the oppressed and others in need. That indeed is our common calling as followers of Jesus, whose coming we celebrate each year.
Historically, Isaiah proclaimed God’s good news of deliverance and the related charge toward righteousness and justice to the generation of Jews in Babylonian exile, who would return to their land and homes to be “a light to [all] nations” (Isa. 49:6), meaning everyone. Importantly, when Jesus emerged from his time of struggle and introspection in the wilderness after John baptized him, Jesus quoted the Isaiah 61 passage above as his mission as God’s anointed one in a synagogue in Nazareth (Lk. 4:16-19). Jesus also taught us as his followers that we are to be “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14).
In our service roles at Baylor, as teachers, students, workers, leaders, and friends – as well as all other contexts of our lives – our daily mission is to actively love and care for others. Further, we must seek and exercise justice for the oppressed, captives, and other victims of prejudice and injustice. We must also display compassion for those who mourn and suffer in any way. This was Jesus’s mission, with deep roots in his Jewish tradition, and it is our common vocation as his followers.
When we get up each day and go to class, our offices, meetings, and engage in other activities, the most important matter for us is how we treat one another. As we celebrate Jesus’s coming to us, let’s make sure that others are glad to see us coming with a loving, caring, and compassionate attitude expressed in all that we do.
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Walt Shelton, J.D.
Walt Shelton has taught part-time in the law school for thirty-one years. He currently teaches four courses related to Environmental, Natural Resource Protection, and Water Law and supervises related externships and independent studies. Professor Shelton is an award-winning author, one of the most read faith and life-quality columnists in Texas for the past fifteen years, and a frequent speaker on wellness, ethical, faith, and life quality topics.
His first book, The Daily Practice of Life: Practical Reflections Toward Meaningful Living (Crosslink Publishing 2020) won a Nautilus Award in the Religion—Spirituality of Western Thought category. CrossLink published Professor Shelton’s second book, Authentic Living in All Seasons: Focused, Fearless, and Balanced (CrossLink Publishing 2022) in June. Professor Shelton earned his summa cum laude History B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin (1977), magna cum laude Religion M.A. at Baylor (1979) and graduated first in his class with his J.D. from Baylor Law (1989), where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Baylor Law Review.