Nov  2010 13
God, the Garbage Man

Isaiah paints a picture of what God's world can and will become. Jim Wilson suggests that the new heavens and the new earth emerge as the daily clean-up activity of God rather than through a cataclysmic end time event.

God, the Garbage Man

The 25th Sunday after Pentecost C November 14, 2010 Green

Isaiah 65:17-25, Isaiah 12, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-19


“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17  (NRSV)

“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Luke 21:9  (NRSV)

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:3-5  (NRSV)



So read the concrete cross beside the highway,

no wood to rot, nor steel to rust,

a message designed for eternity


The sun set last night

rising at the crack of dawn today,

what was yesterday no longer binds,

the liberation of the new day magnificent


The end of it all?

perhaps, but not just yet,

the promise of today being lived

‘tis ours to celebrate


Today salvation knocks,

offering peace in the midst of turmoil,

sanity in spite of our many wars and insurrections

the time thereof is constantly at hand


An eschaton? Cataclysmic upheaval? 

Out there somewhere,

or simply the setting and rising of the sun

while being lifted to the breast of God for our daily feeding


The real presence of the Lord of Hosts,

a constant reality,

now to proclaim such truth

to all the nations and down the street and within our soul



Though the dream of many in scripture seems to be for an end of the present order and the beginning of a new one, we are not compelled to think of this in “end time” theology, I prefer to note this as a daily gift of God, coming to us as Bishop Pike stated in one of his books, “God is like a garbage man, taking the trash from our lives day after day.” -- Jim Wilson


Note: Jim Wilson is a retired United Methodist minister with a close connection to PTS.

Comments for this article are disabled.
Phillips Theological Seminary offers Christian graduate theological education
in service of intelligent, just, and compassionate religious and civic communities. We welcome
students to a safe space for truth-seeking conversations about the Bible, Jesus, and faithful living.
Courses available on campus and online for certificate, diploma, MDiv, MAMC, MASJ, & MTS
programs, and on campus for the DMin program.

Phillips Theological Seminary

901 N. Mingo Road
Tulsa, OK 74116

p 918-610-8303
f 918-610-8404

Campus & Directions

Site content © 2005-15 Phillips Theological Seminary

The materials on this website are owned, held, or licensed by Phillips Theological Seminary and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided Phillips is properly cited. Any commercial use of the materials, without the written permission by Phillips Theological Seminary, is strictly prohibited.

Site design, programming, and CMS © 2005-15 Verdend Interactive

Like PTS on Facebook
Follow PTS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS and Podcasts