Engage: Reconstruction #1

The journey to the common good is one of faith (vision), anxiety (struggle), and neighborliness (life together)….chapter one.

The journey is characterized by subversion, a prophetic resistance to evil (imperialism) through the advocacy and enactment of steadfast love, justice, and righteousness….chapter two.

And that brings us to chapter three, where Brueggemann uses the Isaiah narrative to tell us that the journey to the common good includes the work of reconstruction. We are colaborers with God in the transformation of the kingdoms of this world into the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Revelation 11:15).

We will use this post, and the next three, to reflect on this chapter. And as with the posts about the previous two chapters, I can only provide a broad overview of Brueggemann’s many details.

Not being an Isaiah scholar, much of Brueggemann’s opening analysis of how the book has been previously interpreted is beyond my grasp. But that Brueggemann sets out to chart a different interpretive course is both generally noteworthy and particularly significant in the context of our journey to the common good.

Seeing the book of Isaiah as a prophetic commentary on Jerusalem, Brueggemann interprets it as a narrative of unrealized purpose and potential. Hence, the task is reconstruction. This task is one we must engage in. Imperialism (not limited to one city, but now more a global system) has fostered injustice. We must be colaborers with God in the work of creating the new Jerusalem. As St. Francis recognized, we must pray to be made “instruments of God’s peace.”

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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