Thursday, September 3, 2015

Seeing Together

Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  (Isaiah 40:4-5)
What kind of future do you think the prophet Isaiah was pointing towards with these words? Prophets were never so much about predicting the future as they were about addressing present behavior with God's will in mind.

For example, if I continue to play with matches, eventually I will get burned.
If I stop that behavior -- if I refrain from playing with matches -- I stand a better chance of not getting burned. Maybe this is too simplistic. The point is, Isaiah's point is to point to God and the will of God for the people of God and all of creation. Oh that we would behave accordingly!

For those determined to interpret scripture only literally, this passage from the fortieth chapter of Isaiah is rather unsatisfying. Do we really want to live in such a topography? Sure, we would love for the glory of the LORD to be revealed, but what about that part of all people seeing it together. Shouldn't we get special privileges? What about a preview, all-access VIP passes, or reserved box seats?

I took a brief detour the other day to see the local spectacle pictured above. South of Chambersburg, just to the east of Marion is this beautiful field of sunflowers. From one perspective, it's some spectacular show (quite the departure from familiar corn or soybeans). Looking at the acreage from another perspective reveals the orderliness of the rows, and the way in which the flowers are all oriented in the same direction. Such discipline from organic and innocent vegetation! They look like a mass of little conspiring satellite dishes.

When God envisions unity, I believe uniformity is not the intention. Indeed, we are all one in Christ Jesus. Yet we are not the same. There are a variety of gifts, but the same Lord.

More about this on Sunday. . . . looking forward to our time together!

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