April 7, 2009

APRIL 7 – THE DECEPTIVE CLOUD OF EXCLUSION

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By Hannah D. Miller, a senior peace, justice and conflict studies major from Scottdale, Pa.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 25:6-9 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL: Isaiah 25:6-9 is the ultimate picture of God’s goodness — people sitting together, sharing food, engaging in a community of God’s children. It is the picture that Jesus lived out during his time on earth, and what he calls all of us to do.

At first, I am tempted to see Isaiah 25:6-9 as a picture of just the future kingdom of God. In actuality, this is the reality Jesus brings to us, past, present and future. Jesus put into practice the things in verse six — he eats and drinks with all peoples and he destroys the idea that we should cast out the sinners, the idea that hung around the Jews like a veil.

We are also reminded this Lenten season that Jesus has “swallow[ed] up death forever.” I am reminded of what William C. Placher, professor of philosophy and religion at Wabash College, says about Jesus’ death. Along with God swallowing up death, Isaiah says that God will also wipe the tears off faces and, Placher says, “since Christ occupies the place of sin, the good news is that there is no place for sinners to go where they will be apart from God … for Christians the condemnation of sinners is no longer possible without condemning Christ.”

Therefore, as lovers of Jesus, who calls us to follow him, feast with all people of all backgrounds and be part of a community that walks apart from the deceptive cloud of exclusion, may we do likewise. May we look at the words spoken in Isaiah not only as a future truth but also one that is present in Jesus, in his life, death and resurrection.

———-

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 25:6-9 (NRSV)

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. 
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations; 
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken. 
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

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Comments (12)

  1. Hannah, don’t let the scripture printed with your writing put you in a ‘downer’. Your comments made me want to read more so I went and looked up Isaiah 25. What a wonderful picture and I want to be included in verse 9.
    I really needed your words and this scripture today.
    Thank you!

    Corrine Helmuth April 7, 2009 |
  2. The writer has good thoughts about the inclusiveness of God’s love, but the person who put the Scripture on the page got the wrong passage. Verses from the previous chapter, Isaiah 24:6-9, which are printed with Hannah Miller’s helpful devotion, paint a sad picture, one that does not support the vision Ms. Miller had in mind with 25:6-9.

    Lawrence Webb April 7, 2009 |
  3. The devotional does not appear to be based on the quoted Isaiah 25. Blessings, Jo-Anne

    Jo-Anne Abma April 7, 2009 |
  4. How eye-opening to see Isaiah 24:6 juxtaposed with Isaiah 25:6! Isaish 24 talks of desolation, of a broken and barren earth. Isaiah 25 describes abundant care for the people who wait for the Lord. Your statement, “…this is the reality Jesus brings to us,” causes me to ask myself which one will be my reality today. I have a difficult task ahead today. Will I rejoice in it anyway? You remind me of that challenge that I am expected to meet. Thank you.

    Denise T April 7, 2009 |
  5. just a note……the published Scripture is INCORRECT as Isaiah 24 instead of the intended Isaiah 25: 6-9.
    This reference makes a difference in the impact of this good message.
    Thanks.

    Janis Crowe April 7, 2009 |
  6. We accidentally published Isaiah 24:6-9, instead of 25:6-9 with today’s devotional originally. Apologies to Hannah and to our faithful and attentive readers and to Hannah. We appreciate your grace when humans get in the way.

    Blessings and peace to all in this Holy Week,
    –Goshen College Lenten devotions editor

    Devotions editor April 7, 2009 |
  7. Amen, Denise. I read more Scripture today because of the “mistake”. What a contrast –and makes chap. 25 even more meaningful.

    Tim Sheeler April 7, 2009 |
  8. It appears the wrong scripture was included with the commentary.

    Sandra April 7, 2009 |
  9. What a lovely and right on interpretation of the scripture.
    Meant a lot to me in my daily devotions, tells me yet again I am not to judge. That’s hard isn’t it?

    Shirley haight April 7, 2009 |
  10. I think the juxtaposition is fantastic! We read a very bitter verse with a devotion that tells us that the party is about to start. The text may speak to Friday, but the devotion, itself, speaks to Sunday.

    Really, is that a mistake…or is God’s hand involved in this? How many times did you look THAT closely at the daily devotion?

    Blessings,

    pth

    Paul T. Henley, Ph. D April 7, 2009 |
  11. I appreciate the way you articulated the call to inclusive behaviors. It helps us release our human tendency to judge. Thanks so much!

    Diane April 7, 2009 |
  12. The printed scripture, Isaiah 24: 6-9, is an error. It does not agree with the text given at the beginning of the devotion, Isaiah 25:6-9, nor the devotion itself.

    I sincerely appreciate each daily devotion.

    Marilyn Moffett April 7, 2009 |