Roger's Postings

Friday, November 26, 2010

Isaiah 2:1-5. Waiting for the impossible dream?? 28/11/10

(1) This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: {2} In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. {3} Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. {4} He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. {5} Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Waiting! Waiting! Waiting! We spend much of our time in this life waiting. Waiting for this! Waiting for that! Looking forward to better times ahead: when the children grow up; when the business gets set up and paid for; when we leave school and get a job; when we retire and collect our super payout. Waiting, hoping, looking for better times ahead. Instinctively we know, deep down, that things should be much better than they are and we long for the time that it will come.

So also have God’s people, over the centuries waited, and looked forward to the promised good times ahead. They had experienced the fulfilment of a number of promises that had been made by the Lord and were looking forward to further and greater ones: ones that seemed like an impossible dream: one of which we have here in this reading today. The picture of which, goes something like this:

All countries throughout the world pulling down their weapons of war and turning them into peaceful and useful purposes. No longer is there even the talk of war; or nuclear deterrents, or whatever. Instead, peace reigning worldwide. And even on the local and personal level; all friction between a person and their neighbour; between husband and wife; parent and child; all disappearing: Sickness and accidents becoming a thing of the past. No longer aids, cancer and the like threatening to wipe many people to an early grave. People everywhere, living peaceful, contented lives, knowing that they are safe in God’s kingdom, under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a picture! What a promise! Wouldn’t it be great to live in such a world?

But then to turn in another direction, and see people in their thousands flocking to churches all over the world; kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving from him all the good things he has to offer. Everywhere we look, people talking about Jesus and what he has done for us through his death on the cross, and singing their praises for all he has done. All looking to him, receiving from him and learning all they can, so that they can live and walk as he would have them. No more are there divisions in the Church through faulty understandings of Scripture. Nor are there other cults and religions even a consideration.

Ah, to dream the impossible dream: To think on that which would seem to be totally beyond comprehension or reality. But what a glorious world it is that is pictured here, and that it would be if it where to be a reality. A world of total peace and happiness, and yet it is world that is so far from what we are experiencing. It does only seem to be an impossible dream.

However, here we are reminded that this is just a glimpse of what awaits those who are connected to Jesus Christ. Here God is helping us to get some idea of what the future has in store for his people as a certainty. This ideal world that is here pictured for us, and which we all would desperately like to be a part of, will one day be a reality for us. It will be! God has given us that as a sure promise. So it is a certainty. We can be sure of this. After all, our Gracious God has fulfilled all the promises he has made in the past; so all his promises with regard to the future we can take as being true also.

But of course, the problem is that we are creatures who live for the moment; for the here and now. The future is too far away for us. Instead, we want it all now, and we expect it now. We want the future of our making and we want it the way that we think it should be. So, the age-old problem of humanity wanting its own life on its own terms continually is at work; and continually means that we keep destroying the future that we know should be there for us. Sinful humanity will never be able to create or have this idyllic future on our own terms and without taking God seriously. As long as this world stands, with humanity wanting to live by and for itself, this promised ideal future is only a dream of what might be.

Yet, surely, knowing that this ideal world is something that will be in the future, for those who recognise their sinfulness and who look to Jesus Christ, they have this assurance that this future is a certainty. This also means for us that here and now, that life is drastically different and better. This sure knowledge does change our whole life now as we live out our lives every day.

So what does this mean for our lives now; in the present? Well, it means that we can live and wait with confidence. We no longer live in doom and gloom, despair and hopelessness. We live and love life to the full, not selfishly hedonistically, but for God and others, because we have the assurance that no matter what, it will all end up right, for those who believe in the Lord Jesus. We can give of ourselves and know that ultimately we still have everything. We can take up the challenge that Isaiah gives here, to walk in the light of the Lord. We can now go through life knowing that in and with the Lord Jesus Christ, we have everything that is important, and that he has a great way for us to live as we follow his directives and counsel.

So we wait, not in idleness and carelessness; not selfishly and simply for our own pleasure; but working diligently knowing what the future is and wanting others to have a share in it as well. Also, knowing that the time we have is short and that there is a lot of work yet to be done, we will make every effort to live as God would have us to; both in our relationship with him and with one another.

All the while, we will live, wait and work with the assurance that Jesus is there with us at all times. He came to us here on earth 2,000 yrs ago as a little baby in manger. He lived and then died on the cross and rose again three days later, so that we can be sure that God loves us, forgives us and that we can be a part this future new and peaceful world. While he walked this earth, he continually assured us that he will be with his people throughout time. His Spirit would be with us guiding, directing and encouraging us through his Word and Sacraments. At our baptisms, he has connected us to himself and all that he had done for us. He comes to us every time we gather together in his name in worship and speaks to us through his Word. He comes to us in a special way every time we come forward to the Lord’s Table, there to receive his very body and blood, which he shed for the forgiveness of sins and assurance of eternal life, and of his presence with us as we live our lives every day. And us being here today is an assurance that he continues to fulfil his promises to us through these means.

Knowing then that he has fulfilled his promises in the past and in the present, we can continue to wait – wait for this future time – this new world - this impossible dream to come true. We can wait trusting our God who has never failed us before. We can busily wait, knowing that there is much to do and that the time is short. So let us walk in the light of the Lord, waiting for this impossible dream to come true. All the while looking to and holding firmly to the One who truly loves, forgives and holds us close to himself. And be assured that the Lord is with you and will bless you as you wait.

May we all now, then, have great peace, hope and joy as we wait patiently, knowing that we are a part of this new and glorious world that he promises us here. It will be truly great. It will be great because our Lord will be there in all his glory. So the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts, minds and lives close to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For to him alone belongs all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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