Some First Thoughts on Isaiah 65:17-25
2010-11-08 by Bill Hennessy

I’m new to blogging, so I don’t know if what I’m doing will meet everyone’s expectations, but I’ll give it a shot.  I’ve been looking today at Isaiah 65:17-25 and I have a lot of images rolling around in my head.  The image of a new creation, I think, is the most powerful image scripture has to offer.  It seems an image like this emerges in Israel’s life often when things have reached a nadir of distress and anxiety about the future.  In this case, I believe, post-exilic Israel society is looking at the challenge of re-building and failing to see what might be possible.  This passage might have emerged, in fact, contemporaneously with the prophet Haggai’s words which the Lectionary used last week.

 

What is it that God has in mind for Israel’s future?  Recently I’ve been reading N. T. Wright’s new book Surprised by Hope.  In the first two sections he builds the argument that when it comes to resurrection and the point of the Christian life, scripture isn’t primarily concerned with what happens to us when we die.  Our future, individually and corporately, is inextricably bound to the future of the whole creation.  Just so, he points out, is Israel’s future tied to the whole creation.  He writes:  “What the gospel of Jesus revealed, however, was that the purposes of God were reaching out to a different question:  how is God going to rescue the world through Israel and thereby rescue Israel itself as part of the process but not as the point of it all?” (Wright, 185)

 

I agree with Wright about the gospel, but I think that view is reflected well in Hebrew scripture as well.  This passage in Isaiah reflects one side of a dialogue in Hebrew scripture which shifts between the idea of God being for Israel alone and God being for the world through Israel.  Isaiah 65:17-25 gives voice to the latter.  The image is one that anticipates a new creation that begins with Jerusalem and extends to the world. 

 

A question I find myself asking in light of this passage is, “How can this image of a new creation begin to inform and shape the life of the congregation where I serve?”  That’s the question I’ll start with as I make my way through the Lectionary this week.





Welcome back, Rina Terry!
2010-11-06 by David Howell

A warm welcome to our returning guest blogger, Rev. Rina Terry!

The Reverend Rina Terry is currently pastor of Cape May United Methodist Church in Cape May, New Jersey.  That's Exit Zero on the Garden State Parkway.  She is a published author and former college administrator.

She spent much of her clergy career as Supervisor of Religious Services at Bayside State Prison, an adult male facility with a population of 2,400 men.

Jazz is Rev. Terry's primary spiritual discipline. 





Welcome and Thank you Matthew L. Kelley!
2010-11-06 by David Howell

Rev. Matthew L. Kelley is pastor of Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Clarksville, TN. "The Truth As Best I Know It" and an occasional podcast can be found at his blog.



Break Out
2010-11-06 by Rina Terry

The Cardinal and the Jay were both on the ground with the squirrel, within inches,and it just didn’t make much sensethat way but I don’t ascribe to the theory

of believing none of what you hear

and half of what you see.  For those of us

who have seen all of what we wish we had not and heard too much of everything, theories

do not apply.

 So, there they were, the Cardinal and the Jay.Who would have expected they could sharespace with a squirrel.  I am burying what I can

for the winter ahead that recurs in every season,

when the ground freezes and you pray

a wish that you are not really alone.





New Sermon in Cafe
2010-11-05 by David Howell

Whose Wife? by Rick Brand on Luke 20:27-38 has just been posted in Sermon Feedback Cafe.



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