This week’s Bible passage moves us toward the Reign of
Christ celebration and Advent.Advent
starts in 2 weeks, it is the beginning of the church year and prepares us to
welcome the Messiah, the Promised One who brings God ‘s kingdom, and who is the
one who breaks into human history to embody God’s creation.
Isaiah had a dream.
It was not just any dream; he had a big and special dream. He was called by God
to do this work with his people, in his community where he lived. Sometimes his
dream was too big.It was like trying to
hold water in people’s hands, but he tried to share it the best he could.
Isaiah lived in
the 6th century, that's 25000 years ago.He discovered that people in his nation were unable to move beyond the
Babylonian captivity. They were deeply wounded, as were most Jews at that time,
and they still lived in fear and with a collective trauma.The city and synagogues were completely
destroyed and colonized by the Babylonian Empire and most of their leaders were
taken captive in Babylon.
We as Koreans can
easily imagine what it looked like from our own history of the Korean wars and
our own colonial experiences.
The people of
Israel lived in a time of no hope, just despair, and doubt, and they even gave
up on God who they believed in.Isaiah
proclaimed good news to those saying “Be hold”.Gods creates a new heaven and a new earth; the former will not be
remembered or come to mind (Isaiah65:17).
When God creates the new world, we will not remember any
of the past.
It would be totally new.
In God’s new
heaven and earth, the present life will not be extended, but will be totally
changed. He talked about a dream of the future, this is the core of the
Christians faith as Jesus teaches through his entire life and death, and
resurrected life now.
Yes, Isaiah, the
prophet didn’t talk about individual hopes and dreams, he speaks about God ‘s
dream, for individuals, for communities and for the world.
He talks more
about the new world- the lion and the lamb shall eat together and the lion
shall eat straw like the ox, and the serpent shall eat the dust. He dreamt
about the many possibilities for a holy community and the world, ruling only
with peace and justice. What an amazing dream he has? We miss those prophetic
voices in our world today.
We hardly known
and hear those voices today.
When we listen to the news these days, we might wonder if
our leaders even have a dream for the future.There is too much noise, and flighting on the news.This world seems to have given up on a
future where people can be together and live without hostility.
I wonder, are our
faith communities any different?
The question for
us today, from this unsettled and hostile world is, "Where do you see
I watched a
program on TV the other day, and I saw hope.There was a young man, who lost his sight in both eyes quite suddenly,
and became blind when he was in high school. He lost his father, and lived in
an unhappy family; he was not accepted by his peer groups, after he lost his
sight. But he never gave up hope, not only for himself but for others who live
with the same challenges.He explained
that there are many challenges in life for disabled people, yet, with honesty
and truth there is hope.
He made YouTube
messages to share with the community, and so many people were encouraged by his
experiences, of joy and sorrow.I
appreciate that so many young people listen to his message, and find their hope
from his experiences.
We rememberMartin Luther King, he had a dream, and he
spoke at the Black peace in 1963.He
said, “One day, my four little children will live in a country where they will
be judged not by their skin color but by their character."
What is your
When I was
meditating on what to write in this sermon, I was also thinking about what my
When we think about
dreams, epically God’s dream, we might think, it is too big to think about.
Do you think
Isaiah would be a different person than us?Probably, but he lived in so much despair, and fear of the world at that
He loved God and
he loved his community. He could not avoid God’s call. He needed to respond to
God’s call with the most care for all.God's hope is not in the past but for the future, it does not cause
fear, but peace, it is not unfair, but just, does not create division but
harmony, it is not for individuals, but for community.He calls
it a new heaven and new earth
We can see how crucial this is in our world.
Most of the
leaders of the nations are becoming dictators, enforcing their rules, or making
their own rules on the people and nations. There is so much fighting, and no
safe places to be, people are in hunger, and lonely, and people are away from
God, because people live in their memories of the past, living in fear, not
teaching community living in God’s way.
Isaiah shared his
dream of no more hunger, no child would go hungry, a world where everyone had
homes and vineyards and fruit to eat. And found joy in their labors.Even the animals would get along with each
other, and there would be no more fighting, no more killing, no more hurting.
Only love, happiness and joy.
His dream is the
same as ours. Old Isaiah simply told his people at that time. We should live
his dream in our time in this terrible world.
This is our call,
to share God’s love and justice for all people as Jesus disciples.
Isaiah says to
move forward to God’s way of living, let go of the past.
People hold onto
former things and memories and their feelings are connected to their memories
instead of letting go for the future.This happens because of fears, failures or even success of the past and
keep us from moving forward. People live in fear of the past, and fail to see
the new things God is always creating, new things in us, the life of the world
as a whole.
Isaiah saidGod will not remember Israel’s disobedience.
The words of Isaiah remind One of the most significant
challenges people of faith face, and that is trusting God in the present
moment. Just as God will not bring past transgressions into the present, the
people are called to leave behind the fear and anguish of exile and embrace the
infinite possibilities of “a new heaven and a new earth” (v. 17).
The church means
community, people gather together to sing a hymn, pray, and learn and listen to
God’s words for renewal of our souls and minds, moving and making, and
participating in the new earth and heaven.
and peace for the world and community are difficult to do alone. There is an
abundance of people who make a vocation out of worrying about what lies ahead.
It is an irony of church life that we who claim the promises of God still find
ourselves struggling with fear and anxiety.
Isaiah helps us
to move on by offering guidance for reviewing the past, living in the present,
and rejoicing in the presence of what God is doing in our midst right now.
This is our hope
for the future, hold on to it and rejoice in God’s promises.Express your gratitude what God has done in
the past, and commit your trust to God for the future.