This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on November 13th, 2016.
The prophets often provide a good amount of challenging statements. Moments of despair and mourning fill the pages. But, also interspersed in the texts, are moments of hope. The prophets teach us that life is often an intermingling of despair and hope. Yet, in this selection from Isaiah a vision of hope prevails for the nation of Israel. Hope wins out in the end after so much despair.
The passage begins with God offering to build “a new heaven and a new earth.” The idea of ‘newness’ is a powerful one. Often we have read newness as a way of escape. We can leave behind this old-world to go on to a new place. Aided by our disposable culture, we feel that the old world will just be discarded. Yet newness can be read in a different way in this text. The old creation does not cease mattering. After all, just as we are part of that old creation, we will also be a part of the new. Likewise, this account is filled with references to the current creation. Jerusalem, vineyards, and animals are mentioned. This new creation seems to have elements of recreation and reimagining to it. The old creation will not so much be discarded as healed and remade.