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?