Community in Action January 18, 2021

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland. . . 

    the people I formed for myself

    that they may proclaim my praise.”

Isaiah 43:18-19, 21

    Though I finished preaching about the prophets and teaching about them from this fall. I have continued to take my eclass on the Prophetic Books of the Bible, 30 weeks of lessons, and I have continued to read Walter Brueggemann’s book From Judgment to Hope.

    Brueggemann points out that the major prophetic books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel move from judgment to hope. These prophets are also in historical order starting with Isaiah. He also points out that the 12 minor prophets follow the same pattern, sometimes within each individual book itself moving from judgment to hope, but Malachi definitely is the prophetic book which underlines the coming of “a messenger who will unite the people and purify them before God” (page 93).

    Brueggemann calls these prophets not predictors of the future, but instead emancipated imaginers of alternative. They are people who are not tied to the status quo. They are liberated from a myopic view of life as it is and instead have a vision of a future hope which will give us the freedom to live into an “unprecedented” (to use an overly familiar term) future.

    I believe Isaiah does not say forget the past in that we shouldn’t take lessons from our past, be they mistakes or breakthroughs, but we shouldn’t be held back from a hope that our future will be bright and full of life.

    These last ten months have been exhausting in so many ways. The loss of socializing, the loss of health guarantees, the loss of financial resources, and this all leads us to a loss of hope. Yet, God is not done with us. The people of God in the first century had very little recent history, say the five hundred years before then, for hope of their future as a nation, a chosen people, a light in the darkness for the world.

    But, the coming of Jesus changed not only the outlook of their future, but the future of the world. Those who believed in Jesus had their imaginations expanded, as well as their calling. No longer did the present struggles suggest a separation from the love of God, but instead it became a pathway to mature in faith.

    No longer were God’s people a select purified few who would show the world what it means to be a people of God. Instead the followers of God were the ambassadors, the inviters, the welcoming committee to the entire world to join them in living a new way of life.

    We are the ones who have been called by God to bring hope, light, and salt to this world. We are the ones who don’t give up, but persevere in times of trouble and trial to show the world what it means to be a lover of God’s creation.

    Let us continue to walk with assurance that God has not abandoned this world, nor us. We are the ones who can carry the banner that God is love and we are the ones who in the midst of the pain and loss can give him praise.

    Seeking hope in the midst of crisis with you,

    Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!!

    Pastor Randy


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