3/24/2019 1:30:17 PM
Reflection: Without Money and Without Price
Now that spring has officially sprung, I long for the new life spring represents.
I look at my garden every day, trying to spot each new bulb as it breaks ground. I stare at my lawn, waiting for the grass to turn from a dried yellow to a vibrant green. I peer at every tree, looking for the buds of new leaves. And I can't wait to hear the song of birds that announce every new day. Spring is a season dominated by nature. But there are other "things of spring" that I wait impatiently for and one of them is the return of the neighborhood ice cream truck.
Ice cream is usually a sign of summer but once the temperature breaks 60, that truck is out and about. I usually hear it circling my neighborhood, with a soft jingle turning loud as the truck nears my home. Before you know it, I'm spending my evenings figuring out new ways to distract my children from noticing the sound. The sound of songbirds and the sound of ice cream trucks is a sign that a new way of life is here.
Today's reading from Isaiah 55:1-9 starts with a jingle from an ancient version of that ice cream truck. The scripture begins like a street vendor would, offering everyone free water, milk, and wine. But this gift isn't a free sample hoping to trick us into buying something expensive. The street vendor of Isaiah 55 is offering a gift of abundant and rich food that will last forever He wonders, out loud, why those around him invest their time, talent, and energy in that which does not truly satisfy. This poetic passage is an invitation for the community to turn away from what takes their life and, instead, turn towards what gives life. And the new free and satisfying life is a life that finds its home in God.
Although written to the community of Jews living in exile, this text also applies to us. Walter Brueggemann writes that these rhetorical questions ask us why we "invest so much in forms of life that cannot work - why work so hard and so long in ways that give no satisfaction; why give life over the demands and rewards of the empire that yield nothing of value in return." We are encouraged to ask ourselves hard questions and to wonder if our way of life is bringing a new life to those around us. What, right now, are we investing in that is taking us away from God? And what are we doing that is taking our life away from us?