Proper 28 texts at www.textweek.com
2 Thes. 3:6-13
For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth… 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.Isaiah 65:17a, 18
(This series on Thankfulness was timed around Election Day 2016. Three years later it feels just as important–if not more so. We still have far to go.)
The build-up to this week has been long, dramatic, and difficult; it has felt a bit like a child waiting impatiently for Christmas (only without any hint of Merry or Bright), as if it would never arrive. Now it’s finally Election Eve, and tomorrow we’ll find out if our wishes have been granted, or if our stockings are stuffed with four years’ worth of coal.
Whatever the results, whether we’re thrilled or crushed by what we find under the tree tomorrow, we’ll all have one thing in common: we’ll be on the brink of something new.
Election days, Christmas mornings, and New Years’ ball drops make us pay attention to newness. Birthdays, first days of school, graduation ceremonies, and wedding marches do it, too. We might yearn for the “good old days,” but these milestones remind us of what is true in every single ordinary day of our lives: that God is doing new things in, around, and through us. With every day God is pulling us forward, not for more of the same, but into a future that will look unlike anything we can recall; in fact, “the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (65:17b)
Why would we look backward, when God’s new future looks like joy? Why look back, when God’s future looks like delight?
No more weeping or distress. (65:19)
No more infant mortality or short lifespans. (65:20)
Full houses and bountiful vineyards. (65:21)
Honorable and meaningful labors. (65:22-23)
Generations of fruitfulness. (65:23)
Why would we look back, when God’s future looks like peace? It’s a future where predator and prey live side-by-side… and not only tolerate each other, but feast together. (65:25) Every ordinary day, God is pulling us forward to the kind of peace that we can barely imagine when we’re using all our energy just to maintain our predator status, or to avoid becoming prey!
When tomorrow brings whatever newness it will, whether we accept it with eagerness or with dread, God will still be at work. We’ll be able to see that work if we stop looking behind us, if we gaze forward to the places where joy shines through darkness, where healing begins, where wolf and lamb share life together.
And whatever newness tomorrow brings, God will still be calling us to join in that work. In spite of our ugly elections, disappointing holidays, or the birthdays we’d rather not number, God’s promised future comes nearer, and we can be part of it. On this Election Eve—and on the Eves of our Every Days—may God bring joy to this world. Not in spite of us, but in us, around us, and through us, may God bring delight. Not in spite of us, but in, around, and through us, may God bring peace.
First published 11/7/2016 on www.bwim.info/blog