The promise of Isaiah 65 is that
God is doing a new thing: a new heaven and a new earth. In this new
dispensation things are going to change big time. “The wolf and the lamb
shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” No longer
must one consume another to survive in this new world.
First there was the U2charist,
in which churches invited young folks into their deepest and most
mysterious ritual by building a service around the music of a
30-year-old band (that’s the band, not the members) that occasionally
writes songs with vaguely spiritual themes.
As I read about Jesus' instructions
to his disciples in Luke, I think of my church's instruction of
interns. We offer a program that's designed for intensive and personal
discipleship training and character formation.
In response to the religious leaders' concern that Jesus was welcoming
and associating with clearly unreligious people, Jesus told stories
about God's attitude toward such wayward folk, as we find in Luke 15, from which this week's Gospel reading comes.
I puzzled over this week’s Old Testament passage for a long time. It is
hard to see its connection to the other readings. But if we read this
ancient story through a lens refracted by the forgiveness and
celebration themes highlighted in the other lectionary texts, there are
at least tentative connections.