(Reflection on the pray-as-you-go podcast for 12/6/2006. I tried to post this at 8 am, but blogger was down, and I'm just getting back on the computer...)
Isaiah paints a picture of the world as God intended: All people as God’s children, the shrouds that divide nations removed, every tear dried, every shame covered by God’s mercy. The problem for us is that we live in in-between times. The Lord has spoken. He will personally wipe away every tear, destroy death and include all people at his table. But we are not there yet. We are journeying on a promise, and it is hard to keep a promise so radical, so foreign to our daily experience, as our beacon.
Our world, our lives, are not as God intends them to be. Wars rend the world, and anxiety and despair plague many of us. While God will bring God’s intention to pass, Jesus invites us, today, into bringing that kingdom about now – in part.
We don’t live in a world where people’s tears are dried, where nations are not blinded and divided, where all people sit together at the Lord’s table. But if I show compassion to those who are hurting, to work for understanding rather than enmity between nations, to include “others” rather than exclude or simply avoid them, the world becomes, bit by bit, more like God intends.
We don’t live in a world where the poor, the wretched, the grieving, the not-quite-together are blessed. But if I act generously, am open to God’s presence in everyone, and work for equity, the world becomes a little more like Jesus described. The kingdom is at hand and may, for a few moments, become visible. And that vision of the destination helps keep me focused on the next steps to take.
Lord, help me to take actions today that will bring your kingdom nearer, not farther away.