Sandy Hook. Iraq. Pulse. Syria. Mother Emanuel. Afghanistan. We don’t have to look far to see violence in the world. We see needless killing both in our own communities and abroad. The world can be a very scary place. Isaiah was living in a scary place too. King Uzziah had died, leaving uncertainty and the Assyrian Empire was expanding beyond Judah’s borders.
It is no wonder that Isaiah’s vision of the Messiah was one who would bring peace. It is a message we can’t hear enough of today. Isaiah gives a litany of natural enemies not only coexisting, but cohabitating. The wolf and the lamb live together, the leopard lying down with the baby goat, and the calf and the lion together. The cow and bear lie down together while the lion eats straw like an ox. What beautiful imagery! Natural enemies living together in harmony.
As we celebrate advent, we wait for the time when Christ will come again. We wait for the time when Isaiah’s vision will come to be. We wait and pray for a time when the lion will lay down with the lamb, when violence will cease, when God’s peace will rule. As we wait, we should remember the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven,” and ask ourselves who are our enemies? What are we doing to make peace with them?
Rev. Chris Deacon is a pastor in the PC(USA). He is currently serving the United Parish of Bowie in Bowie, Md, outside of Washington D.C.
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