New and Improved – Focus Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25
Reading today’s text brought to mind a movie I saw back in 1996 – it was called “Multiplicity” and starred Michael Keaton and Andie McDowell. Michael Keaton played Doug Kinney, a devoted husband, father, and construction worker. Like so many other people, Doug had too much to do and not enough time in which to accomplish it all. Not only was he barely able to keep up with the demands of his job, he soon found out that he had little time to enjoy his family and savor his life. In fact, Doug rushed through existence at a frenzied pace. And he was miserable in the process.
Now just when he was about to go off the deep end, Doug met a geneticist who offered him a solution – he gave Doug the ability to have himself cloned – to have himself re-created in his own image! Doug jumped at the chance and before long had crafted a clone to share the workload with him.
The plan went along just fine for a while. But soon Doug decided that if one clone was good, more than one would be better. So, he produced clone number two and clone number three. He finally ended up reproducing four clones in all, each one displaying different aspects of Doug’s initially faulty personality, each one was a little quirkier than the one that preceded it, each one being a clone-of-a-clone.
Corrupted, weakened, and defective, clone number four had capacities that were discernibly inferior to those of his predecessors. Over time, Doug’s life became extremely complicated and troublesome. Although he eventually stumbled on a workable solution to the problem he had created, he could not make the underlying cause of the problem go away. You see, once these clones had come into existence, there was no way to undo the process and make them disappear. So, Doug and the clones ended up living in tension with the mess that they had made.
In the contemporary setting, we don’t have to look very far to see strife hovering all around. Who is to blame? We can’t blame God for what is wrong in this world. God did not make the world as it is today; no, what God created was deemed “very good.” Rather, the world has become this way because of the human choices we have made over time.
In many cases, we have decided that we are capable of improving on God’s good work. We have resolved to make copies of copies of copies of morality and reproductions of reproductions of reproductions of the truth until we lost sight of the original goodness that God had initially created and intended for his chosen people. As a result, we have fashioned with our own hands a world that is in trouble, a world that needs salvation, and a world that cries out to be made new and improved. Upon realizing our folly, we have cried out to God. Because God desires to be in a relationship with us and loves us with an everlasting love, he is willing to step in and fix the messes we have invented in God’s way and in God’s time.
Patient God, thank you for stepping in repeatedly and cleaning up the messes we make. Amen.