Friday, April 5, 2019

Fifth Sunday of Lent by Sue Rheem

Imagination:  Lift up your eyes on high

“Lift up your eyes on high and see:  Who created these?  He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NRSV)  
We live in turbulent times. The news headlines about the dire warnings of climate change appearing almost daily are hard to ignore.  Unknowingly, I have hunkered down to shield myself from the myriad of bad news, looking down at the gray sidewalk as I go about my day.   But recently, I happened to look up as I waited for the traffic light to turn green and witnessed a spectacular cloud formation against a bright blue sky.  The Psalmist’s words came to mind, “The heavens are telling the glory of God – and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)   
In Isaiah’s time, yet another turbulent time in human story, he told the people of God to look up to the heavens so they may see God in all God’s glory.  He called on them to lift their eyes on high because they had lost their ability to see God beyond their imagining.  Instead, they made false gods and relied on their own experiences to guide them through the difficult times.  Isaiah’s call is a good reminder for us to feed our own imagination for God that goes beyond our natural tendency to rely on our own understanding and false gods, whatever that may be for each of us.  To seek a God great in strength and mighty in power, who knows all by name, and where all creation praise God – from sun, moon and the shining stars, the waters of the earth, the mountains and the hills, the trees and the animals – is to rely on the everlasting God to guide us through our difficult time of climate change.  
When you go outside in these remaining days of Lent, take a moment to lift up your eyes on high and really see nature’s inherent beauty that God has made, and let your imagination turn to God. 
Prayer:  Gracious God, you have loved your creation into being.  Make us faithful and patient as we lift our eyes on high to draw from the beauty of your creation and to work for a new creation that it may be destined for the glory and service of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Sue Rheem is the Mission Specialist at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Presbyterian Mission Agency.  She has a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.   She serves on the Justice Ministries Committee of the New York City Presbytery and is a member of the Astoria Presbyterian Church.  

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