Day 2: Isaiah 65:17-25
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.
When was the last time you were encouraged to use your imagination?
We are people accustomed to wild and imaginative cinematography. As a society, we binge watch TV shows full of special effects and computer animation, but do not read as often as we ought. It is possible that our imaginations have become dull or out of shape as we no longer need them to imagine the scientifically impossible. Hollywood takes care of that for us.
One of the gifts of the devotional life is that it challenges us to read the words of texts which were written, in many cases, as food for the imagination. The Bible is full of texts that provide us with a theological world of imagination, an alternative to our status quo. Imagine just one line of this prophet – imagine a world in which someone who dies at a hundred is considered young. Or this one – imagine a world where lambs eat with wolves. The picture that the prophet paints for us here is one of a heavenly reality. Isaiah foresees a day when God’s reality is all reality.
Yet this reality is not impossible – this is the reality that breaks in as Jesus comes to Earth. These are the bodies that restored creation will assume and which Jesus demonstrated as Paul calls him the “firstborn from among the dead.” Do you believe that God is really in the business of restoring all things? Is your theological imagination open to the possibility that God is creating a new heaven and a new earth?
Jonathan Burkey | Worship Pastor