You Shall Call Your Walls Salvation


Today's lectionary text comes to us from Isaiah 60:17-18.  There was more to the lectionary passage, but these verses stood out to me like a flashing neon sign. 

It's impossible for me to read the Bible now without looking for signs and messages that connect with our current circumstances.  

When you are in crisis, every moment has the potential to be imbued with meaning, and the same goes for Scripture, I'm learning.  This is what I read this morning: 
I will appoint Peace as your overseer    and Righteousness as your taskmaster.Violence shall no more be heard in your land,    devastation or destruction within your borders;you shall call your walls Salvation,    and your gates Praise. - Isaiah 60:17-18
I needed to see those verses.  I needed that promise.  

I'm feeling kind of raw and emotional today for some reason.  I have these moments when I am so filled with joy that I can't seem to contain it in my chest.  And then ten minutes later, I find myself sinking into sadness.  

I've been at this long enough to realize what I'm doing.  

I'm trying to cope with my fears and anxiety, and I am realizing that I've shoved down most of my feelings for a while now... and they're rebelling against me.  So now they are coming to the surface all at once it seems like.  

It's a roller coaster for all of us right now, and we're all coping in our own ways.   But we all need to know something right now.  All of us.  

It's something we see clearly in this passage from Isaiah.  In this passage we can see a vision for a future that is free from all of the struggle, strife and crisis after crisis that we are facing.  

And the best part about this vision is that it comes from God who speaks from the midst of the crisis itself, and says something amazing to all of us.  

You ready for it?  Here it is:  

God is not angry.  

This crisis is not punishment from God.  You are not in trouble here.  None of us are in trouble.  God did not send a plague in retribution for some alleged slight against God.  

Some Christians don't get this.  Pastor and author Brian Zahnd puts it like this: 
We've all seen Christian leaders assign blame upon the victims of epidemics, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  But blame is what the satan does.  
The word "satan" in the Bible just means "accuser."  In the Old Testament the satan was the prosecuting attorney that stood before God accusing people of all of the ways they had fallen short of God's laws.  

You can read all about this ancient mythological way of thinking in the Old Testament book of Job.  

But those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus are called to something deeper during this challenging time.  We are called to be more than a bunch of "satans."  

Brian Zahnd puts it like this:  
Followers of Jesus are called to co-suffering love, not theological stone-throwing. 
May you find moments today to dream a bit---to let yourself see the vision Isaiah shared.  May you see the world as it ought to be, as it will be... and may it give you the strength to live into love and hope right now. 

May you rest in the knowledge that God is not angry.  God is with us. And God is on the other side of all of this, preparing that future.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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