Monday, February 29, 2016

Lent 3C

Isaiah 55:1-9

55Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; 7let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This is from the final chapter in the second main section of the book of Isaiah that's sometimes referred to as 2nd Isaiah, who mostly wrote during the Babylonian exile. This section begins with the famous "Comfort, Ye" that opens Handel's Messiah.

Discussion of music with texts from Isaiah. Handel's Messiah, of course, and I mentioned Randall Thompson's Peaceable Kingdom with its text a collage of passages from all three sections of Isaiah.

This still is 2nd Isaiah, still writing to the exiles―btw, everyone did not get exiled into Babylon, and of those who did, some actually stayed and remained there to create at least a fairly vibrant life for themselves, others went back to Jerusalem and Judah. Brief discussion of the state and condition of being sort of an exile almost anywhere a person is these days. A sojourner, an immigrant here in southern California―and not necessarily from a different country. From the midwest? From the south? New England? Southwest Arizona, Utah, or NM? However, for the most part we have enough food and drink, in contrast to the people these words first addressed who were hungry and thirsty. Not well fed.

It’s sometimes hard to know just where God’s offer of material goods ends and where God’s offer of the spiritual substance of salvation begins. Does this passage refer to material provision or spiritual provision?

Yes. Both. And.

This pericope opens with a series of commandments, summons, invitations(?), from God:

come – buy – eat – listen – eat – delight – incline – come – listen – seek – let

Through Isaiah God asks why we spend money on fake food? Nutrition has become commodified. Even a basic necessity like water has become a commodity.

The spiritual soul food and the bodily soul food God offers in Isaiah 55 isn't even available for the kinds of money we use for economic exchanges. God has picked up the tab because we could never have paid for it anyway.

The Lord’s Supper reminds us the food and drink God offers us is both spiritual and material. Eating and drinking can be a means of grace—not only exclusively in Holy Communion.

Barbara liked that God's thoughts are different from hers. I pointed out "thoughts" in the Hebrew is closer to our word designs in English, rather than to cerebral brain processes.

Our thoughts? We live in a world of economic exchanges where we expect to pay something (legal tender, labor, in-kind) for everything we receive. We don’t believe in free lunches; God does believe in free lunches and provides them, too! Time is money? Sometimes – but as Richard explained – sometimes not.

"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?"

God asks via Isaiah why spend money for fake food instead of real food? Why work hard spending energy and hours to buy stuff (food household items, entertainment, etc.) that does not satisfy anyone on any level?

Discussion of the annual United Nations World Water Day on Tuesday, 22 March. Pastor Peg told us about a synod event we can attend. I mentioned I blog every year for Word Water Day, might attend the synod event, take some pics, talk to some people, and blog the results. Water is life! Water and literacy are the best gifts missionaries and humanitarian workers can bring.

North American Affluenza is the widespread disease of acquiring too much of everything you really don't need, sometimes in response to keeping up with or envying our neighbors.

Remember Tony Campolo and Curing Affluenza? DId anyone watch that series at the end of the last century? Wednesday mornings the church I attended offered Holy Communion Rite 1, breakfast and discussion. For several weeks we watched the video series during the discussion portion.

PS Looking through these notes and recalling my end of the Sunday morning discussion, I kept emphasizing fake food rather vs real food. I also suggested we buy local and grow local for many many reasons.

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