By Gina Gaudet
The old testament reading for the third Sunday in Lent, which lands this year on March 24, includes these words from the prophet Isaiah:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Prophets are not so much predictors of the future, as truth-tellers for the present for future events unfold from the present. But one thing is for sure: as heaven sits high above the earth, the thoughts and ways of God will prevail, regardless of our human activities. All we can really influence is the timeline. How soon will it take for the ultimate will of the creator to be fulfilled? Well, that is up to us. It depends on how long it takes us to recognize and align with this perfect, loving and compassionate will.
The story that is the foundation of our faith involves a highly improbable event we refer to as resurrection. We proclaim that Jesus died, and then came to life again days later. There are slightly different versions in the gospels, but the basic story is the same. However, it’s important to know that the backstory here is mostly political. The simple, but highly evolved preacher from small-town Judea is eventually perceived as a double threat, to the ruling priestly class of the Jewish people, and to the localized leadership representing Rome.
Ultimately, Jesus hangs dead on a cross after a traditional execution. Phew! Now everyone can relax, this “Jesus” craze will die down, and we can all return to business as usual. What no one was counting on was this wild idea, this unthinkable thought, that “my ways are higher than your ways.”
Here is the good news: death as an end is a lie, part of an eternal cycle that we can only see part of with our limited vision, our thoughts that are not God’s thoughts. Our “politics as usual” is the governing myth, the main content of our headlines. And we are wise enough now to know that politics is inseparable from money, power and corporate control.
So, where is our “good news” in these times of climate change, mass species extinction, unpredictable weather, political unrest and racial divides? It lies hidden in our hearts, like a body in a tomb. Our hope – no, our faith – waits for a wind of spirit and a witness of miracles. It waits on edge for that unbelievable surprise moment when it is revealed that there are higher thoughts than those that appear to govern the consciousness of this age.
And when we gather on Easter morning, the first words out of our mouths are, “He is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”