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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, April 20, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 65:17–25

For I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
    and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
    or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
    an infant that lives but a few days,
    or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
    and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
    or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
    and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
    but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord. (NRSV)
 
Reflection
Here we are post-Easter celebration, and today’s reading allows us to revisit God’s promise in the resurrection. The fulfillment of Easter is a world turned right-side up, wherein all of creation is made new, whole, and even joyful.

I love the rhythm of this passage and the familiar imagery. I envision a world not condemned to suffer mounting injustice, uncertainty, division, and isolation. Imagine a world where violence, all forms of abuse, insecurity, and disease are nonexistent. Imagine “new heavens and a new earth; . . . the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind.” Wouldn’t that be something?!

In his book The Hungering Dark, Frederick Buechner challenges us to be open to possibilities that only God can deliver. Buechner writes, “in a world with God, we can never know what will happen . . . because the thing that happens is God’s thing, and that is to say a new and unimaginable and holy thing that humanity can guess at only in its wildest dreams.”
 
Prayer
Embrace my soul today, O God. Fill me with your love, light, and hope. Help me envision, with every sense and every fiber of my being, the kingdom of belonging that you have in store for me and for all creation. Amen.

Written by Laura Sterkel, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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