Today’s Word: ‘Neighboring’ as in… it’s a verb, not just an adjective.

God’s vision through Isaiah 65:17-24 is a global call to neighboring.

Check this out:

“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people:

No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal— anything less will seem like a cheat.

They’ll build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it, they won’t have children snatched out from under them.

For they themselves are plantings blessed by GOD, with their children and grandchildren likewise GOD-blessed. Before they call out, I’ll answer.”

As we move toward the July 4th weekend, we’re anticipating another celebration of our nation’s independence; we’re celebrating freedom. This is the 244th birthday of our country that was built on truths that we hold to be self-evident: that all people are created equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Having escaped oppression, the framers of the Constitution, among them Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, who was deeply flawed when it came to matters of race, nevertheless, cast a stunning vision for this new nation. A vision of which we have fallen short. But on this year’s July 4th weekend we acknowledge that the 244-year old vision for this nation pales in comparison with an even more pervasive vision for an entire planet. It’s a vision that God has called the entire human family to embrace; a vision of a world where “liberty and justice for all” means liberty and justice for all.

In just one week, we’ll pause again as a community to commit ourselves to making the vision of “liberty and justice for all” a reality “on earth as it is in heaven.” In Isaiah 65, the prophet speaks the words of God to a nation of people who have lost the plot. They have gone their own way, done their own thing; they have not been faithful to God’s dream of liberty and justice for all.

There is, however, a remnant. There is a small neighborhood of faithful followers who do desire to live into God’s original dream for the global neighborhood and to actively work toward that vision for liberty and justice for all people—no exceptions. And so through Isaiah, God calls the human family into a vision for a new world and invites all people to become part of the neighborhood – a global neighborhood that fiercely loves, respects, honors and “neighbors” one another.


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