Wow. Today's three readings are all amazing! Each of them stands on its own as one worthy of plumbing its depths and meditating upon. Which to choose?
Our passage from 2 Tim 3.1-17 reminds of the wickedness that surrounds us in our culture that is hostile to Christianity and the inevitability of persecution and suffering that comes/will come. I've written along similar lines recently here and here, so I won't revisit those subjects again today.
The gospel reading (Lk 12.13-31) calls us away from the materialist excesses of our society and teaches us that the most valuable 'things' aren't things or possessions at all but a richness toward God. I'm working on a book review of Chris Nye's recent book, Less of More, which addresses our Western lust for things and disregard of spiritual simplicity and maturity. I'll try to get that finished by tomorrow.
Finally, the Old Testament reading from Isaiah 65.17-25...this is where my heart and mind slowed down and really focused this morning. The last few days in Isaiah have been a back and forth between God's judgment for sin and his desire to be found by his people. We've gone from one pole to the other in a short time. Today, however, God draws us to the future with a promise of restoration, rejuvenation, and redemption. Instead of my thoughts or the thoughts of one of the Fathers, why don't we simply let God's word permeate our thoughts as we take a moment and dwell on the victory to come, made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ...
I will create a new heaven and a new earth.
Past things will not be remembered.
They will not come to mind.
Be glad, and rejoice forever in what I’m going to create,
because I’m going to create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people to be a joy.
I will rejoice about Jerusalem and be glad about my people.
Screaming and crying will no longer be heard in the city.
There will no longer be an infant who lives for only a few days
or an old man who doesn’t live a long life.
Whoever lives to be a hundred years old will be thought of as young.
Whoever dies before he is a hundred years old will be cursed as a sinner.
They will build houses and live there.
They will plant vineyards and eat fruit from them.
They will not build homes and have others live there.
They will not plant and have others eat from it.
My people will live as long as trees,
and my chosen ones will enjoy what they’ve done.
They will never again work for nothing.
They will never again give birth to children who die young,
because they will be offspring blessed by the LORD.
The LORD will bless their descendants as well.
Before they call, I will answer.
While they’re still speaking, I will hear.
Wolves and lambs will feed together,
lions will eat straw like oxen,
and dust will be food for snakes.
“They will not hurt or destroy anyone anywhere on my holy mountain,”
says the LORD.
--Isaiah 65.17-25 GW
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