Sunday, October 29, 2006

Isaiah 59:1-19 (Year B, Proper 25; 21 Pentecost)

Today's appointed reading is Isaiah 59:1-19. Reading over the first 2/3 of the passage gives a pretty dark picture of sin taking a heavy toll on human life. What becomes striking to me is how God seizes the initiative and intervenes in independent, direct, apocalyptic fashion starting in v. 15b.

The Living PulpitSomething Walter Wink wrote in the Living Pulpit issue on "Sin" strikes me as helpful and related. As part of a piece entitled "The Gladsome Doctrine of Sin," Wink writes that we simply must be realistic about the sheer power of sin and malignancy round about us. We must not be passive, but we must be modest, "so that we can be expectant toward God." "And modesty is an enormous relief. It is the infallible sign that one has been awakened from dreams of perfection. The Powers can be redeemed, but not made flawless. And when we no longer have to believe that we must make everything happen ourselves, we are well-positioned to live in anticipation of miracles" (The Living Pulpit vol. 8, no. 4 [Oct-Dec 1999]: p. 5).

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