Isaiah 65:17-25; Luke 21:5-19
What a contrast Jesus' words are compared to Isaiah's. Make no mistake these are both apocalyptic writings. They both have a warning, a picture of what can come. Is this not our hope? When we think of our very soul being in danger dont we want the comfort of Isaiah's words. We'll skip over hardship, oppression, and danger and go right to the peaceable kingdom. It does bring into sharp relief what may be required to get there. These are also there to help us ask where are our eyes fixed?
This past week was election week. Our eyes are still fixed there even though the vote is in and it is over and done. Some have their eyes so fixed on this they can't see anything else. If you don't believe me just take a look at Facebook. There have been posts of gloating, of tearing another down, of saying my way is the only right way. The problem with this is our eyes are only fixed on here, right now, and only on ourselves. This is certainly not the picture Isaiah gives us and the warning of Jesus that our very souls are in danger.
Where should our focus be? Where should our eyes be fixed? Every salvation story tells us. Whether it is Hagar in the wilderness, who puts her son far from her so she won't see him die. Then the amazing happens, God breaks in and shows her the water and makes a promise of sustaining. Maybe its the Hebrew people on the run from Egypt and they turn around and only see the chariots coming. Moses, why did you bring us here, and God parts the Red Sea. Our focus should not be on demonizing one another. This is not how Isaiah's kingdom comes. It is in concern and care for one another. What is God? Love and mercy, we see it again and again.
"Clothe yourself with compassion, clothe yourself with kindness, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive, forgive as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love. Which binds them altogether in perfect unity." Says Colossians nevermind 1 Corinthians 13. Our very soul is at stake when we forget love. When we leave it beaten and bruised on the corner, left behind. We are no better then the crowd in John who bring forward the woman caught in adultery. What are they holding? Stones of self-righteousness, not love, not a peaceable kingdom.
As you came in this morning you picked up a stone. Look at it now. Look at that stone and feel all the anger and hate you have for the other go into that stone. When we carry this stone and add more and more anger and hate it gets bigger, bigger to carry around, bigger with our own self-importance. Bigger and heavier, until we are so weighted down we loose sight of everything else. There is a song I sang a long time ago in a group called Kinship, it says "your my brother, your my sister, so take me by the hand. Together we will work until he comes. There's no foe that can defeat us when we're walking side by side. As long as there is love we will stand." Stand, not be weighted down and bent over. Stand.
Please take your rock and bring it forward, release it into the baptismal waters and say, "I will repect the dignity of every human being with God's help." With God's help we can see our brother and sister. With God's help we can release anger and hate. With God's help we can bring the vision Isaiah has through the suffering and hard times Jesus names, but only if we see each other, not as enemy or demon, but as God's children. Come release, come forgive, come and fix your eyes on the things of heaven, not of this world.