The Morning After


November 09, 2016

By Jocelyn Gardner Spencer.

Scripture:  Isaiah 65:17-25 (NRSV)

 
 
For I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
But 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.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
    or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
    an infant that lives but a few days,
    or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
    and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
    or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
    and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
    while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
    but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord. 

Reflection: 

By the time you read this devotional, the 2016 election season will at last have reached its conclusion.  But as we wake up this morning and take stock of the decisions the American electorate has made, the things that were revealed about our nation in the course of this campaign are no less true.  

We remain a nation divided—not only by political affiliation, but by race, class, gender, origin, religion, and more.  We remain a nation where pain fuels fear, and fear fuels hate, and hate fuels brutality, and brutality fuels yet more pain.  We remain a nation where women, and LGBT people, and people of color are not treated as full citizens, are not treated as full reflections of God’s image, are made less safe by vitriol and violence.

We remain a nation, in other words, that sorely needs the promise of the prophet Isaiah.  Speaking to another struggling nation, centuries ago and worlds away, Isaiah prophesied of a new realm to come where all the suffering of the present day would be transformed into joy and delight.  Lives would be long and fruitful.  Coexistence would be gentle and peaceful.  All would be made new; all would be made well.

No matter how you may feel about yesterday’s results, the question for us, as Christians on the morning after, is this:  where is God’s promise alive in our hearts and in our communities, and how will we help it come true?  Regardless of the outcome of the election, the call of our faith is the same:  to be co-creators with God and to nurture God’s realm into being.

So pause from whatever pundit’s analysis you were reading or watching or listening to, and take a deep breath.  Let your eyes become the prophet’s eyes.  Picture with Isaiah a world free from poverty and suffering and pain, a world full of justice and reconciliation and joy.  That is the new world that is dawning, even now, and thanks be to God, we get to be part of it. 

Prayer:

Holy One, your mercy extends from everlasting to everlasting, and your love endures all things.  Help us to see your presence in the world as it is, and inspire us to live into the world as it will yet be.  Amen. 
 
Rev. Jocelyn B. Gardner Spencer serves as pastor of First Congregational Church of Woodstock.  She is a Racial Justice Ministry facilitator and a member of the CTUCC Board of Directors.

Spirited Wednesday: November 09, 2016 , by Jocelyn Gardner Spencer.