Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and those who live on it will die like gnats;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my deliverance will never be ended. Isaiah 51:6
This passage speaks of the impermeability of life. I was taking a class in seminary called the Epic of Creation in which scientists and seminary professors led this seminar. The scientists spoke about the constant changes taking place. There are theories about the expanding universe. This expansion would lead to the end of the heavens. Like smoke the heavens would drift farther and farther apart until there was nothing left to see.
During the lectures on evolution, I was forced to think about the mortality of a species in ways I had never considered before. Sometimes there appears to be a cause for one species dying off. But it is usually bad luck. There doesn’t seem to be a reason. Yet the whole line has disappeared. What a new perspective this gives to us humans? If we are gnats to be easily destroyed our life and purpose shifts? We may be only visitors. That while our branch has grown so far it may go no farther.
The image of the earth as a garment brings into dramatic relief how it is we treat the earth. There are some of us who toss out the old as the wind changes. There are some of us who wear the same dress for forty years. There are those who only reuse, remake clothes that someone else has worn. To view the earth as a garment is to view the earth as disposable.
And then we learn that God is permanent. God’s salvation is forever. God’s deliverance will never be needed. How is it that we can in our impermanence become permanent?
God sees the smallest creature that bothers you, we know that you are our salvation and will deliver us from the misperception that we are more than we are. Amen.