Scripture Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people. –Isaiah 64:6-9
Cultural revolution is hard for everyone even the ones benefiting from the change. We no longer can tell who are the good guys and who are the bad ones. Attitudes and actions formed over centuries become the normal whether right or wrong. Change leading to justice is messy. Whether we are addressing white privilege or defining appropriate sexual behavior, we must deal with a range of emotions spilling forth on all sides. I remember reading in a book many years ago, a white man from the south described sitting on his porch as a youth with his friends and spitting balls of paper through straws at the younger black children walked by on their way home from school. I do not remember the name of the book. I do remember the author’s remorse as an adult. The youth were totally unaware of any wrongness regarding what they were doing.
Our scripture today speaks to such a time as ours occurring over 2000 years ago. Isaiah challenges the Israelites to see that their way of being was not God’s. God’s people needed remolding, a process requiring recognition of the problem, repentance, and re-formation. Isaiah prays for God not to remember iniquity forever, but we must remember enough history of our iniquities never to repeat them again.
Prayer: Lord, our souls are discontent and restless. Our minds search for answers that do not come easily, and our hearts struggle to love all your children as we are called to do in our work of building a world ruled by love. Reform us show us the better way. Amen.