For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice for ever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
What pops out at you in this vision/prophecy/poetry/prayer? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?
This is a great vision of hope, a poem about what God’s kingdom is like, a vision of God’s future. What do you notice most? Is anything missing from what you would expect in a vision of God’s future or of the kingdom of heaven? If you were to imagine the kingdom of God, is this the kind of picture you would paint? If not–what would be in your picture?
How do you see the Kingdom of God coming (or being thwarted) in our time? How do you see the church helping or hindering the coming of the kingdom? How about you personally–how are you a part of the coming of the kingdom, and how are you hindering it?
What do you hear as the good news in this text? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this passage have to say to our community today?