Tucked away at the end of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah's message, we find a vision for "new heavens and a new earth."
No matter what your view of the nature of prophetic or apocalyptic literature, what I find so stunning about these words are the values expressed here, values that relate to how life should work here and now.
As I read over them, I am reminded of Jesus' most familiar prayer where he taught his followers to pray "thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Consider Isaiah's powerful and hopeful vision. Notice carefully how the lives of people fit in his view of what life should bring to all God's creation.
As you read, ask yourself, "What values undergird my own understanding of spirituality?"
Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.
They will not toil in vain
or bear chidren doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm or destroy
on all my holy mountain. (Isaiah 65:17-25)