The Lord says, “I am making a new earth and new heavens. The events of the past will be completely forgotten. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I create. The new Jerusalem I make will be full of joy, and her people will be happy. I myself will be filled with joy because of Jerusalem and her people. There will be no weeping there, no calling for help. Babies will no longer die in infancy, and all people will live out their life span. Those who live to be a hundred will be considered young. To die before that would be a sign that I had punished them. People will build houses and get to live in them—they will not be used by someone else. They will plant vineyards and enjoy the wine—it will not be drunk by others. Like trees, my people will live long lives. They will fully enjoy the things that they have worked for. The work they do will be successful, and their children will not meet with disaster. I will bless them and their descendants for all time to come. Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. Wolves and lambs will eat together; lions will eat straw, as cattle do, and snakes will no longer be dangerous. On Zion, my sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil.”
An image of great hope – for it offers something that is not quite here and is yet to come. These are words of comfort for those faithful people, in the midst of their sorrowing, turmoil, grieving, displacement, prejudice and unjust loss. Over two millennia later, it still rings true.
In this last week alone, sorrowing and grieving has resounded across our nation and the world. Injustice from unconscionable prejudice, unjustifiable loss, catastrophic turmoil, displacement from greed and warring, while creation is groaning and responding as it struggle for survival.
This is a perfect reading for this moment! God offers encouragement that in our lifetime, as we engage in actively living out our days in God’ Way, we do so for the betterment of the future, for our emerging community, for our family and friends whom we have not yet met, but for whom we prepare the way of peace for their living and being. We may never reach God’s sacred hill, but that is not the reason for our faith filled pilgrimage each day.
A Commitment to Pilgrimaging towards God’s new earth and new heavens
L: People of God,
Be a people of Hope.
Let the Light of Christ shine through you.
Let the Spirit sing through your soul.
P: May our being and living
reflect the much-needed voice and hands of justice.
May our unconditional love
gently encompass the sorrowing and uphold the grieving.
May our active sharing of our wealth in safety and security
support those who have need.
May our faith-filled living
dispel unjust, dishonest and prejudiced choices.
May we live out a wave of change
towards peace-filled, compassionate justice and welcoming hospitality.
For in this moment, and those ahead,
we are God’s Servants.
L: Let us again listen to God’s calling;
Here is my servant, whom I strengthen
the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased.
I have filled you with my Spirit, and you will bring justice to every nation.
You will not shout or raise your voice or make loud speeches in the streets.
You will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp.
You will bring lasting justice to all.
You will not lose hope or courage;
You will establish justice on the earth.
I, the Lord, have called you and given you power
to see that justice is done on earth.
Through you I will make a covenant with all peoples;
through you I will bring light to the nations.
You will open the eyes of the blind
and set free those who sit in dark prisons.
Step out today in hope.
Every moment is a new beginning.
How we live today matters in God’s Realm.
Sing a new song to the Lord;
Sing, God’s praise, all the world! Adapted from Isaiah 42:1-10
© Rev Anne Hewitt 09/11/2022
This reflection may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.