Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year B, Advent 3, Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 65:17-25: Thus says the Lord God," I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight ... They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain", says the Lord.

Reflection by the Rev. Helen Hanten

Holy places abound in Israel. The Holy Land! The city of Jerusalem itself is called the Holy City where God has acted in human history as written in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The writer of this passage from Isaiah envisions the Holy City becoming more like heaven on earth where there will be peace and joy and plenty for all. In Jerusalem and throughout the country there are shrines built in memory of God's might deeds, and these sacred places are visited by pilgrims from all over the world. We have our individual sacred places, as well. Places where God has acted in our human experience, places we have felt the divine presence and heard God's voice most clearly. Our pilgrimages may be to shrines already built, locations where some event occurred of wide impact such as a plane crash or a ship sinking, or a pilgrimage can be to a place in our personal history -- the birthplace or home or grave of an ancestor or relative or someone we loved. We go there , not to sight-see, but to experience something -- feel something that connects us with another, and perhaps to God. Look in your heart to find your sacred places. Go with others to visit theirs.

Helen Hanten is a deacon at St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She originally wrote this reflection in 1996. She and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Helen Hanten or any other MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC c/o C. Morello 4451 Lakeside Drive Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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