Monday, November 18, 2013


          This morning I’ve asked you to look back at your lives, your family, your community, and your church and remember the things that have come into each of these areas of your lives. What were those things that surprised you when they appeared? What things that came in are still there…and maybe that’s surprising, that they’re still with you.
          Of those things that have survived, how many could we eliminate, get rid of, give away or sell?
          Last, but certainly not the least, what are your hopes for the future? More of the same…or maybe you’re ready to throw everything out and begin with something entirely different.
          God told Isaiah he was going to create a new heaven and a new earth…and the old things wouldn’t be remembered. Did you catch what God said, “…a new heaven and…a new earth? Do you ask yourself, “What’s the matter with the ‘old’ heaven and the ‘old’ earth?”
          Things weren’t too rosy in the day of Isaiah. The city and temple were lying in rubble and the outlook was pretty bleak. But God says all that’s going to be changed and no longer will there be weeping and crying.
          All people will live long lives; all people will have work and enjoy their labor. Everyone will get along even the animals will lie down together and eat together. There will be peace. Just what everyone was hoping for was going to happen.
          So, what are your hopes, for you, your family, your church, your community, this world? What has God been telling you?
          Next Sunday we will be given a worksheet, actually a Bible study, to help this church discern the pastoral leadership we need for the future. 
          The future fills us with anxiety and fear because we’ve no idea what’s coming. We hope everything will work out for us but we have not guarantee that it will. And so, we’d like to go back to the way it was and leave it like it is now. If it’s not broken then don’t mess with it.
          The reality is everything changes, families, churches, schools, towns, countries and the world. Everything changes.
          Think back to the mirrors that were here a few weeks ago. I know some of you looked in the mirrors. Do you really believe you look the same as you did 10 years ago? The truth is we’re different and so is the world and community we live in.
          So, what are we to do? Were you listening when I asked the young folks what they’d do if given the chance to re-design the world? Did you make a list of things you’d do?
          What made your list, peace, no more people going hungry, no more people without work, no more cancer or heart disease or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or worn out hearts and lungs and knees and hips? Maybe your hope is that everyone will be happy as God told Isaiah he would make the New Jerusalem, a place of happiness, no more weeping and crying.
          So, did the prophecy Isaiah received from God come true…or is it still coming? The city has been rebuilt and where the Temple was located an Islamic shrine was constructed on the Dome of the Rock in 691 BCE and is still there. So, is there a third temple planned? Maybe the third temple will be in the New Jerusalem.
          Will any of our hopes be realized? I don’t know but I believe if they are in alignment with God’s plan for the future they will.
          So, what are we to do in the meantime? I think Jesus gave us the answer in the gospel lesson for today. He said, “13 …bear testimony to me. 14 make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict… 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.”
          I think we could add another one of Jesus’ sentences, “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid.” Peace, no fear, happiness, joy, plenty these are God’s promises for us today.
          My friends, God’s plan is still in effect. We aren’t to sit around waiting. We aren’t to worry or be anxious. We are to tell the story that there is forgiveness of sins for everyone who repents (changes). 
          Everything will be made new. God said so. A new heaven and a new earth are what he promised and one day will deliver…maybe it will be today.
          Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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