Monday, August 19, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 225: Isaiah 25-27; Psalm 34; I Timothy 3

High, Low and the Space Between...
You have to admit, God is remarkably consistent. As we work our way through Isaiah, God's words for the powerful, the high-placed, the rich, the ones-in-charge are signal words of warning. Don't keep up dealing in injustice. Don't keep up oppressing, using, exploiting and abusing in order to maintain control, not only over your life but also over (and often at the expense of) the lives of others. God's words for the oppressed, the poor and those who find themselves in "reduced estates" are equally consistent. Keep faith, pursue righteousness...deliverance and restoration is at hand. The advent of God's kingdom means a day of reckoning for those who have much, and a time of restoration and elevation for those who are at the bottom. At the same time, there is a sweet spot, one that most who seek God would wish to find themselves in on a consistent basis. There is a "level place" where the righteous dwell. Neither high, nor low, this place is found when the righteous pursue justice and peace. It is the place where God's word is heard and acted upon. Moreover, it is the place (God willing) where everyone will wind up meeting when the day of the Lord is fulfilled.

Isaiah describes it as God's holy mountain. This is a place where a meal of wondrous proportions and quality has been prepared for those who will experience restoration after the tribulations of judgment and cataclysm. It is a place where everyone's portion is, well, enough. It is a place and a moment when we will know God's full mercy, when things will be set right.

It is also not yet.

That is not easy for us to hear. When good people want to do the right thing, when we strive for justice and peace then God's kingdom should feel like it is near on a sustainable basis. The problem is that life, the world and the problems we generate as human beings on a consistent basis for each other and the ecology of the globe continue to erode our progress toward being a society of the "level places" of God.

Before you throw up your hands in frustration, or the proverbial towel in an admission of defeat, realize that we cannot in our finite and geographically bound lives make God's kingdom happen on our terms. What we can do is take each moment as it comes as an opportunity to be the people God asks of us. We can take this moment and live with integrity. We can take this moment and attempt to speak and honest word, to seek the right and just pathway. We can take this moment and make it a thank offering to God and a gift to our neighbors....

...at least for me, that is more than enough of a challenge. Would that I could make batter choices in this moment that God gives us.

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