By John Bottomley
The Australian church and the nation both face difficult times. National reconciliation, the place of worship in contemporary mission, injustice at work through work-related death, grief, and bullying, the tension between business and theological understandings of corporate governance, and the suffering brought by post-traumatic stress to victims and perpetrators of violence – all these challenge the foundations of modern life.
The book of Isaiah brings together prophetic words about trust and justice in times of difficulty, words of hope in times of captivity, and words of judgment as the community reshapes its life after overwhelmingly tough times.
While a great distance lies between contemporary Australia and the situations of ancient Israel evident in Isaiah, the poetic structure of voices in Isaiah can speak across that distance. Both the authors have listened to Isaiah’s ancient voice as well as to the voices of those struggling with today’s difficult times in ways that call the church to rethink with imagination its prophetic role in society. Included in the text is the play Prophet and Loss by Jane Woollard.
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