Lectionary Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25 (NRSV)
Many people may not know that I'm not a native Oklahoman. While I've lived most of my life here, I was actually born in Minnesota and lived there for the first six weeks of my life. My parents then moved to Oklahoma so I decided to go with them.
I do root for the Vikings in the NFL but haven't given much thought through the years to the Golden Gophers of the Big 10. It may have been because they were never very good (okay, no shots at the Vikings here). I did watch them beat Penn State on Saturday and jumped on the bandwagon. It was fun to celebrate with their fans because they haven't had a lot to cheer about. They are 9-0 for the first time since 1904. They may not make the playoffs or even the Big 10 championship but at this point, they have a shot.
Their fans can dream with more possibility (and probability) than most seasons!
They have real hope.
What does it mean to instill hope in people?
I think it is a powerful thing - it is no small thing at all. When that hope can translate to people's lives for things that make a solid impact - much more than rooting for a sports team - it begins to bring about the world God is seeking.
Our faith reminds us that we partner with God in our interactions with the world. We are supposed to offer compassion and help to people because our faith reminds us to look at the world through God's eyes.
I remember working on a house in Mexico. It was not one that we would think twice about here in the United States. It had no electricity or running water. It didn't have carpet. But it wasn't down in the dust. It kept the wind and rain out. The woman we built it for was sweeping out her new floor as we drove off for the last time.
She seemed to have a sense of pride in this simple chore. Her future would look differently because of work that we did.
It was powerful work - no small thing at all.
Isaiah lines out a new future for God's people and when we see the lion lying down with the lamb, we move into imagery that allows us to see beyond the literal. A person can look at the history of the Jews and understand that there has been further weeping and cries of distress in Jerusalem no matter what verse nineteen says. What we are looking at is a vision of the preferred reality for God's people.
We'll continue to examine this passage in worship on Sunday. How are we living into a world that reflects Isaiah's message? How does our church incorporate this into our life together? How do we offer hope?
I invite you to join us as we explore these questions together!
Photo by Ahqib Hussain via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.