Lent and The Promise of New Creation

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” —Genesis 17:17

There is a dialogue set up in our faith. One voice says, “Can you imagine!” The other voice answers, “Yes, but.”

God brings into existence that which does not exist. Did you know that the Bible never uses the word create with a human subject? We may “make” or “form” or “fabricate,” but only God creates, only God works a genuine new possibility, a new thing beyond our expectations and our extrapolations. It belongs to the mystery and holiness of God to call to be that which is not yet. Because this is God’s world, the world is not closed, either by our hopes or by our fears… by God’s powerful grace, the “Yes, but” of our resistance is broken. Newness appears; we can sing songs, unembarrassed, songs about miracles.
– Walter Brueggemann (A Way Other Than Our Own)

But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

“Here is the good news. The good news is that we need not serve the wrong god, trust the wrong life-giver, fear the wrong power. We may read life differently, and the way to do that is to wait: to wait in eager longing for the God of creation and rescue to work a new way in the world; to wait in keen expectation; to wait in active zeal, receiving every hint of newness and acting on it; to be ready to go for the gift of life; to leave off fear, intimidation, resignation, pooped out-ness as the governance works a newness. This poetic utterance about God and God’s work has concrete counterparts in the realities of economics, politics, social relations, social possibilities. The utterance is matched by a reordering of reality, the transfiguration of the empire itself. It is such an intellectual travesty, such an act of chutzpah, such a subversive poetic utterance that dumps a poem in the midst of resignation. The poem works a newness, not because it is good poetry, but because the subject of the poem, the God who lives in and through and with and under such outrageous assertion, is at work overriding despair, inviting hope, responding to our waiting, and starting the world free again, outside the regimes of weariness. We are left to decide about this outrageous assertion, sung against the resignation of the empire…

The key religious question among us is whether there is grounds for an alternative, an alternative rooted not in self-preoccupation or in deadening stability but rooted in a more awesome reality that lives underneath empires, that comes among us as odd as a poem, as inscrutable as power, as dangerous as new life, as fragile as waiting. The poet names the name and imagines new life, like eagles flying, running, walking.”
– Walter Brueggemann (A Way Other Than Our Own)

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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