Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Isaiah 2:1–5

Year A - Advent 1 - Needed Change [1]
December 1, 2013

This year I am going to be looking at two recent bibles:

The Common English Study Bible
The New Community Bible: The International Catholic Edition (commentary reflects a Liberation Theology perspective from the Philippines and I admit a bias for a bible that emphasizes community).

Here are comments regarding justice coming from temple [CEV] and community [NCB] that you might fruitfully reflect on as you rub them together.

The same oracle (a form of prophetic speech) is also found in Micah 4:1-3, but the conclusions in Isaiah 2:5 and Micah 4:4 differ. Whereas in Micah 1:24 God’s own people were viewed as God’s enemies, here enemy nations become God’s own people, coming to the temple for divine instruction. I contrast to Micah 1:12, where the temple was trampled by unjust worshippers, now it is the source of justice. Such hopeful portrayals of Jerusalem occupy key points in Isaiah (Isa 4:2–6; 12:1–6; 33:20–24;40:1–2, 9–10; 62:1; 66:7–14, 1823). [CEB]

It is true that the Church has many unattractive aspects: her institutions, her hierarchy; her paralyzing traditions are no more exempt from error and scandals that were those of the Jewish community. Perhaps we fail to discern the profound riches which the Church develops in sincere believers. In the world, they are those who keep the fire that Christ lit burning, and who create a network of more human relationships and more authentic life around them.
     In the final analysis, this is what prepares for the coming of the “new creature.” Isaiah alone has done more for human progress than all the kings of Assyria with their armies, their victories and their laws. This leaven of authentic civilization is what, one day, will be placed “on the high mountains”, or “on a lampstand” to enlighten the world. (See Mt 4:14.) [NCB]

How is it that swords are transformed into plows? 
   Divine instruction? 
   Authentic civilization? 
   Would you list a third option? 
Are these just spelling differences for the same dynamic?

Come, let us walk together to create light.

= = = = = = =

As encouragement to consider purchasing our own commentary, Wrestling Year A: Connecting Sunday Readings with Lived Experience, here is an excerpt:

Wars and rumors of wars continue to abound. Such are convenient control methods to keep us fearful and unthinking. So how do we make a shift that seems so absolutely impossible?
     A key phrase is for us to respond to an invitation to “walk in the light of the Lord”. Among other things, this is a call to live the future as if it were already here. Advent is not just waiting time, but practicing time. Advent: the pre-arrival of a future that we climb aboard. We have seen a better future and, rather than wait for it or expect G*D to bring it about according to some yet undisclosed plan, we begin to implement our part of it in the present. A better future is not based on some future event, but on what we currently do.
     Let us walk in the light of what we posit G*D will be doing—teaching, mediating, transforming implements and attitudes of war into communal feeding and universal health care. Our Advent is proactive waiting. Our waiting is preemptive futuring that breaks free from being caught between practice and actuality, a rock and a hard place.

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