Isaiah 65:17 – 25 1.

One excruciatingly hot summer day in Africa, an old man was sitting by the road looking tired or even sickly. A young Missionary had to stop the car and offered him a ride. But he declined the offer and said, "I walked a long way today. It was time to sit down and let my spirit catch up with me." Now we ask ourselves, when was the last time we got out of our car and waited for our spirit to catch up with us? Things are moving very fast now-a-days. We move an average of 50 km an hour in town, and 100 km on highways. When we fly we move with a speed of sound. Our spirit moves with a speed of 5 km an hour. We might be moving very fast but without getting anywhere, like a chicken with its head cut off. Spirit is the one who knows where we are going, not our body. When we don”t have a head, any speed might be dangerous. 2. Legend has it that Ancient king of Egypt, Thamus, often entertained himself by inviting god of invention, Theuth, and by watching the demonstration of his latest ideas. He invented Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc. But now he came up with the idea of letters, a writing system. No longer anyone needed to repeat oneself umpteen times to memorize some important events and sayings of the day. The next generations would know the wisdom of the ancestors from papers not from people. Wise king thought about it for a long time, but decided that he did not like the idea. He said, "Our brain will atrophy for not having to remember anything in future, because the letters will remember for you. The worst of all, we will degenerate into a state of some lower life form. We no longer have to talk with our sons and daughters telling them the important things that happened in our lives. There will be no time for families, and without time spent with families, we will be the same as some less intelligent animals. We will eventually perish as human beings." 3. This important lesson from Egypt is that new things are not automatically good unless we know what it is that these new things are good for and are not good for. One big problem we have today is that people believe whatever faster, bigger, newer, or lauder is automatically better. Once we stop to think about it, we know it isn”t always better. How come, then, we spend so much energy, money, and time to get often useless things without thinking what they are good for? 4. This is a question of values. The bigger is not necessarily the better, for example, unless we know why it is better because it is bigger. We have to have a goal to judge the values of things that are bigger, better, or newer. What, then, are our goal and values as Christians? 5. Our goal is to build the Kingdom of God here and now. We know that our values come from Love. So let us think about those. 6. The notion of the Kingdom of God is known in our Bible in many different ways: Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, New Heavens and New Earth, New Jerusalem, etc. There are many different expressions, but they all mean the same thing. It is the world where God rules. Jesus Christ declared its coming. It is already here. The problem is, it is still in a process of completion. God expects us to join in the job of establishing the reign of God in this world. 7. How then should the Kingdom of God look like? Among many descriptions of the Kingdom of God in the Bible, I like the one found in the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 65 very much. It says that in new heavens and a new earth: 1) Children shall not die. 2) Old people live out their lives and die in dignity. 3) People build their houses and live in them. They shall not build and another inhabit. No one will take their houses away. 4) People eat fruits of their labour. They shall not plant and another eat. In other words, everyone will have work and can live on it. So our goal is to help build up the Kingdom of God, which will look like that. 8. What then are the values that create and uphold such a world? The force that gives us strength to work for the Kingdom of God is Love. When we have love, it is easier for us to see that the world must be the kind of place where the strong and the weak live together without harming each other. It is love for each other that allows lions and sheep to live in the same cave and share the same food. The strong will give way to the weak, so that all should survive. There will be no superior nor inferior, there is only difference. The law of nature ”survival of the fittest”, does not have to be the guiding principle any longer. Our ethics, philosophy, and religions do not accept the current practice of our society, which is based on competition. We doubt that only the biggest and the strongest should win the competition and survive. We can and want to let the weakest survive, because we love them. We want to live and stay with all creatures as loving brothers and sisters. We don”t condone the act of exterminating deformed and feeble-minded anymore, which was attempted many times in human history, as in Nazi Germany. We believe in the god who does not allow even a sparrow to fall. Those species which cannot compete do not have to, and must not become extinct. 9. All this sounds wonderful, but you will soon realize that I am speaking about what is an impossible dream. It looks impossible, because our society runs on the principle of competition:survival of the fittest. What deem to be weak and inferior are not allowed to remain on the scene. Most of us believe that we advance and progress because of competition. Without winning in the competitions, we will atrophy and perish, like dinosaurs did, who were presumably weaker than the elements that killed them. We believe that we will survive, because we are stronger than elements. We can beat the floods, earthquakes, and tidal waves, and wild beasts. We can beat the nature. We will outlive the nature. You can now easily see the problem in this kind of argument. We see others as competitors, rivals, enemies. And we don”t we our own destruction, if other creatures are destroyed. 10. Another problem with this argument is: we never stopped to ask, "What for the progress?" We really don”t know whether all this progress is good for us, especially if we have to look at others as enemies, or competitors at best. Competitions must produce losers, because without losers there is no winner. That is not good for those who did not make it in the society and become homeless, unemployed, or commit suicide. Secondly, all this rapid progress may not have any direction, and may be leading all of us to ultimate destruction. Destruction of our mother earth in the name of progress, balding mountains, dirty lakes and rivers may be telling us that we don”t know where we are going, and that it is time for us to stop to think where our spirit is. We must realize that if we don”t know where our spirit is, we are in a big trouble. There is nothing to tell us the direction of life.

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