The prophet Isaiah casts a glorious vision of a new paradise, a new reality where there is peace, safety, security, health, stability, and well-being. I want to go there! I want to live there. I am tired of bad news. My heart breaks for the destructive isms of race, gender, and class. I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of planetary destruction, violence, famine, and disease. I am more than ready for a new heaven and a new earth.

Or am I? I can’t help thinking that I might be part of the problem rather than the solution. If I were ushered into paradise, would I care for it any better than I have cared for the good creation God already gave me? Would a new beginning create in me a newer, better stewardship, or would I simply transfer my poor, destructive practices to the new reality? It is wonderful to receive the message that God is going to clean up my mess for me; but then, what is my responsibility?

I believe Jesus’ teachings complete many of the visions of the Old Testament prophets. As Christian disciples and stewards, we are responsible for preparing our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits to share in God’s vision. We are instructed to treat others as we would treat Jesus and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are taught to care for others and to do all in our power to live as kingdom people right now.

God prepares a new heaven and a new earth, but Jesus makes it clear that God will work this miracle with and through us, not in spite of us. As the body of Christ, we should live so that God’s new reality emerges in and through us.

Creator God, reveal your vision for a new world through your people today. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 21:5-19

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Lectionary Week
November 7–13, 2022
Scripture Overview

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. The praise of God 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.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

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 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.