Dome Tent Dreams

Isaiah 65:17-25 – The 26th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, November 13, 2016

“They won’t labor in vain, nor bear children to a world of horrors, because they will be people blessed by the Lord, they along with their descendants.” (Isaiah 65:23)

tentThe Bible, and the Old Testament prophets in particular, can spin stark images and warn of impending danger. God has a long, anguished memory when the Children of Israel stray. God is often judgmental. God frequently seeks revenge.

But not always, for Isaiah dreams joyous dreams. In the 65th chapter, there is a longing of a “new heaven and new earth.”

Just around the lectionary corner, the world according to the Bible will quake and groan, shake and tremble, as various apocalyptic passages “prepare” believers for the mayhem before the manger. Grim those passages are. Terror reigns; hope shrivels.

But not in this passage! If the mariners of by gone days were right, and it’s a red sky at night and sailors take delight, and red sky in the morning and sailors take warning, let a red light in the final gloaming shine from Isaiah’s words.

I have glimpsed glory like old Isaiah described. I have witnessed God’s dream of a human community no longer in tears. No longer suffering. No longer having children bearing a “world of horrors.”

Once, on a backpack in the Sierra Nevada, I poked my head into a rain-streaked, mud-stained, four-person dome tent and found the missing youth. For brief shimmering moments, I also found Isaiah’s divine dreams revealed in sweaty, smelly teen hikers. Continue reading →