In my Century lectionary column for this week, I focused on the reading from Isaiah 65. It’s a text I find baffling, frustrating and hopeful. If space were limitless, here are some other things I might have included.
In elevated, beautiful language God promises to create new heavens and a new earth. The problems and pain, the injustice and hunger, the longing and the loneliness—all will be vanquished! This image of predators and prey happily coexisting will appear again in the Isaiah text for Advent 2, and in Advent 3’s Isaiah passage there will be “no lion . . . nor ravenous beast” in God’s renewed Zion.
is concerned with encouraging a struggling congregation to stand firm, endure
and persevere. Wendell Berry refers to the "art
of the commonplace," a phrase that for pastors brings to mind the art,
craft and skills by which we cultivate the common everyday life our people are
called to live and share--and which will enable them to stand firm. It is about
the mundane and about community.
It was the spring of 1963 in Birmingham, and it looked as if the civil
rights movement would suffer yet another defeat. The powers that be had
more jail space than the civil rights workers had people. But then one
Sunday, reports historian Taylor Branch, 2,000 young people came out of
worship at the New Pilgrim Baptist Church and prepared to march.