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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 27, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 55:15

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
   and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for he has glorified you. (NRSV)

I’ve been reading a lot about the possibility of new worlds lately. Through the eyes of poets and science-fiction writers, through the work of abolitionists and historians. About movements attempted and resistance that has never gone away, that has always contested “the way things are.” And today I’m struck by the parallels between what I’ve read and the Isaiah passage.

First, an invitation. To imagine a world where all may be fed, nurtured, and taken care of regardless of ability. A vision of the world abundant, giving, overflowing, from a vantage point of yes, there is enough.

And then the learning to be done. We are challenged to ask questions. What is of value, what is important? On what are we spending our time? Does it feed us? Does it feed others? And there are questions about justice, punishment, and the nature of violence, in ourselves as well as in others.

Then we are called to a covenant, so that we might live. The Isaiah chapter goes on to say, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts.” We have so much to learn; we need new ways of thinking, of doing, of being. And since we are trying to learn how to be with each other, we can only learn it, let alone have it, in community and in covenant with each other.

Yes, a lot of work. But oh, how worth it.

“Removing oppression, not reforming it . . . is an exercise in imagining new communities” (Zoe Samudzi and William C. Anderson, As Black as Resistance).

God of dreams and visions, may I listen carefully to you, that I might keep your word and learn your ways and feed those who hunger for food and for your glory. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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