Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, February 20, 2006

The pure Genius of Isaiah

As we approach the season of Lent, I’m preparing to re-enter a preaching series on Isaiah which I began in the fall. The genius of both Isaiah, and Jesus (both working for the same boss) was that they lived and preached paradox: interior holiness/exterior justice; mourning over a world held steadily in the grip of death/ rejoicing over a future that bursts forth with life at every level; righteous anger, used a voice for those who have no voice of their own (the poor and disenfranchised)/ quiet submission when one’s own reputation is on the line.

Their model is “not like the one-world liberals who view the present world as the only one, nor like the unworldly who yearn for the future with an unconcern about the present. There is work to be done in the present. There is grief work to be done in the present that the future may come. There is mourning to be done for those who know pain and suffering and lack the power or freedom to bring it to speech. The saying is a harsh one, for it sets this grief work as the precondition of joy. It announces that those who have not cared enough to grieve will not know joy” (from Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination)

And this of course, is what the community faith is to pursue – grief and hope, both alternately and even simultaneously, in order that the Christ’s reign might find further footing, both in the deepest recesses of our hearts, and in the deepest caverns of oppression and injustice. What do you think are the biggest barriers to the church becoming this mourning, celebrating, justice seeking community?


At 22/2/06 14:36, Anonymous Penny said...

The biggest barriers:

1. we have become overly accustomed to comfort (this is human nature, but for us it has come to the point where we are increasingly unwilling to let go of the things that stand in the way of deeper communion and identification with Christ).

2. The "why do bad things happen to good people" has become almost a mantra - we have forgotten to call it joy when trials come, even though Jesus wants to use them to teach us about his love and his character.

At 26/2/06 16:10, Blogger magel said...

my wife and i visited your church on sunday and heard your message on isaiah 40. it was very challenging. thanks for your work.


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