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11-14-19 - New Heavens/New Earth

(You can listen to this reflection here. Today's scripture passage is here.)

Today, let’s move from apocalyptic predictions to the larger context in which the end of things in this world exist. In one of the readings from the Hebrew Bible set for Sunday, a beautiful prophecy in Isaiah, God announces: “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” This passage gives voice to the yearning for peace and security which should be the birthright of every man, woman and child – and animal – on this planet. It articulates beautifully the hope of a restored creation living in harmony:

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime…

Reading that, I can’t help but think of all who have lost loved ones to the epidemic of gun violence in our country, as well as victims of other kinds of violence. I think of families decimated by bombings in Syria, Iraq; by gang terror in Honduras; of mothers fleeing that violence only to have their children taken away from them on our borders. The sound of weeping never quite dies away.

Think of the promise of security and work and rest envisioned in this prophecy:
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat…

This is true peace, when each person can live safely in her own home, bringing up his children to thrive in trust. This is the world God says he is bringing into being. This is the promise we are invited to participate in making real.

What do you long for when you think of God making a new heavens and a new earth?
What aspect of life in this world do you feel called to help renew? Where do you want to put your energies? Start by praying about that area, and imagining yourself making a difference, in the power of the Spirit. What do you see yourself doing or saying? Keep inviting God into it.

I will keep working and praying for the healing of our planet and its creatures, and homes for all people. “They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.”

I believe in the power of love to transform and convert the most evil heart. I have to, despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence is not more powerful than the power and the promise of God. God is creating the new heavens and the new earth – and we are here at the beginning. Every day.

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