Friday, August 06, 2010

Are We at Isaiah 9?

Companions,

A wondering. A pondering. A mulling.

Yesterday's reading from the Revised Common Daily Lectionary was from Isaiah 9, which includes these words:

The Lord sent a word against Jacob,
 and it fell on Israel;
and all the people knew it--
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria--
but in pride and arrogrance of heart they said:

"The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones.
The sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place" (Isaiah 9:8-10, NRSV).

As I read that I was struck by some of my own thinking, and even sort of "evangelism" for restoring a Methodist way.

So the congregations have lost any strong commitment to their task of teaching and embodying real theology-- we'll find ways to strengthen congregations for their basic theological tasks. So the class meetings were essentially cut off from Methodists in the 1840s-- we'll go start new ones, maybe not exactly quite like the old ones, but they'll have the same function.

And then the prophet speaks.

"So the Lord raised adversaries against them,
  and stirred up their enemies,
the Arameans on the eat and the Philistines on the west,
and they devoured Israel with an open mouth." (Isaiah 9:11-12). 


And so I wonder. I ponder. I'm still mulling. Really.


For you who have ears to hear, what do you hear?
 



Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards

3 comments:

Matt Kelley said...

I'm hearing that death always precedes Resurrection, and we have to think seriously about what we need to let take its course and die so God can raise it up in a new way

Mike Mather said...

So - what do I mull over as I read this? Tonight I was at a celebration of a summer spent with the young people of our parish, our neighbors, going around and talking with their neighbors - telling stories, learning one another's names...and while they are doing it there are a lot of people asking - "what are you doing? shouldn't you be teaching classes? Offering programs?" The front page of the Indianapolis Star this week was decrying the recent spate of violence in our city and the suggested response of smart and well - informed people was an investment in crime prevention programs (of which there are probably a record number going on in this city). I hear the words of Isaiah and I think about how we are trying to find dress stones and cedars...and I also think about how our language both inside and outside the church devours us (I hope I'm not stretching things to far here) -- it eats up the good work we do and leave us feeling hungry for the fast food, the easy food - of things that feel good, but aren't so healthy for the body, the soul, the spirit. It's easier to say "volunteer to be a mentor for an hour a week and our schools will be better" or "donate some canned goods and you'll be ending hunger" than it is to same - "love your neighbor as yourself." Or to say it in Isaiah's own words it would be easier to say "send them to the homeless shelter" than to "take the homeless poor into your home." (I wonder how many people would know which one Isaiah said?)

journeyman37 said...

Mike,

Yes.

Let me be bolder, if this is bolder, and not simply overly provocative.

The "usual response" is a sign of the deep atheism that lies at the center of our culture, and that even often claims the church.

What you describe not as antidote but as way is a faithful sign of the presence of God's kingdom. It is a way of life that does not fear death but trusts that God has indeed poured out Godself into and all around the world.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor