Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking Forward to November 14, 2010 -- 25th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Luke 21:5-19

The Sermon Title is Destruction and Re-Creation

Early Thoughts: Scripture begins with the story of God as Creator. But is God also the Destroyer? Well how else can re-creation happen?

In his book GOD: A Biography Jack Miles points out that in the faith story God is both creator and destroyer (unlike polytheistic traditions where these two roles would be assigned to separate deities ).  And certainly it makes sense.  Consider the Noah story.  There God destroys to enable re-creation.  Some Biblical interpretations of the Fall of the Temple-Exile-Return cycle suggest that the same thing is at work.  And it certainly seems that talk of the end-times (or, to use a fancy $50 word, eschatology) within the Christian tradition includes that rhythm of Destruction that enables Re-Creation.

Which brings us to the passages for this week.  Luke brings a word of imminent destruction. Isaiah bring the word of re-creation, the new heaven and the new earth.  Which would we rather hear?  I think I can be confident that many of us find Isaiah's words much more comforting than Luke's.  But it is my firm belief that you can't have one without the other -- just like you can't have Easter Sunday without Good Friday.

God is at work transforming the world.  Transformation is not tweaking.  Transformation is not always comfortable or easy.  Transformation is real change.  And real change can be scary -- all the more so since it is real change that we do not control.

As people of Christian faith we live in the nebulous world of the now and the not yet.  In the life, death and resurrection of Christ the Kingdom of God is here with and among us. But obviously the world as it is does not live up to the full vision of the new heaven and the new earth.  And so to get beyond the not yet things need to be rebuilt.  It would be nice if that building could be a mere matter of minor renovation.  But sometimes the building as a whole has to go.  Sometimes we need to destroy before we can rebuild.

Destruction is a terrifying thought too many of us.  It just sounds so final, so complete.  But to those who have a vision for what will come after destruction can be a sign of hope.  As we hear these passages about destruction and re-creation are we hearing them in terror and worry or are we hearing them in hope?


1 comment: