A roof over our heads and food on our tables—that seems to be a reasonable expectation for most. And still there are those who have not or cannot realize that expectation in their own lives. The winning purse of a recent boxing match was disclosed to be $100 million and the losing purse a mere $30 million. When I think of the extravagance for some compared to the plight of the unhoused or poor in the world, I cannot help but pray for the vision of Isaiah to come quickly.
Isaiah prophesies that when the new heavens and the new earth come about, people will build houses—and live in them. They will plant food and eat what they plant. God’s people—all the people that God created—will live long lives and enjoy their work.
Isaiah’s vision seems to be the exact opposite of the reality most of the world’s population experience. Today, God’s people still go without homes and food. God’s created people still are unhappy with their unfulfilling work—some to the point of depression. How can we play a part in Isaiah’s vision and God’s plan for God’s people?
It can be as simple as saying something kind to a stranger. Hospitality is important. It could be that you place a few extra dollars into the offering plates at church. You might take a Saturday—or even every Saturday—and dedicate that day to service in your community so that others can have a house in which they can live, or food to eat, or a job in which satisfaction and enjoyment abound.
Those of us lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and food on our tables can give thanks to God! Our faith calls us to share God’s blessing with God’s people—and to be thankful.
Gracious God, we want to experience your blessings among us. Help your created people be safe, fed, and happy. Amen.
This week we read two passages from the prophet Isaiah. In the first, God promises a total restoration, a new heaven and a new earth— a theme repeated in Revelation 21. The new Jerusalem will be filled with joy and prosperity. Isaiah 12 offers thanksgiving to God for the gift of salvation. God’s praise will be proclaimed among many nations. In the epistle, Paul chastises a lazy faction among the Thessalonians. This passage has been misapplied as teaching against providing assistance to the poor, but Paul’s target is not the poor; it is those who can provide for themselves but fail to do so because they say they are too focused on waiting for Jesus. In Luke, Jesus foretells future turmoil for Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.
Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How can you play a part in Isaiah’s vision for God’s people? When do you have to accept that only God can usher in this vision? How do you know the difference between these two situations?
Read Isaiah 12. How can your words be life-changing for others?
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Who has mentored you in the faith? How has their guidance kept you disciplined and helped you grow?
Read Luke 21:5-19. How do you speak the truth of Jesus to those who say the end is near?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.