Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’


November 29, 2004 Leave a comment

Over 2000 years ago, Isaiah sang a song of peace to a people with war in their hearts. He looked into the holy city of Jerusalem and saw a people corrupted with violent words and violent ways. Yet he envisioned a time when all nations would draw from the wellsprings of peace in Jerusalem. Listen…his song still echoes across our land.

“It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Isaiah 2:2-4

We begin the Advent journey with Isaiah’s song on our lips. We yearn for peace and even cry out for peace but we live in a world bent on war.

Jerusalem is still a city consumed in war. In fact, it has known more violent conflict than virtually any other city in history. And yet, Isaiah’s song still echoes: “neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Looking past the pain of the present, Isaiah envisions the end. He sees Jerusalem as a city of peace—bringing peace to all nations of the earth. He sees a world of perfect harmony.

Not to be confused with an endless state of tranquility where nothing happens, harmony is a realm of endless variety and stunning diversity, and yet, like a masterpiece from Mozart, it brings complexity and depth of structure into a stunning resolution. Perfect harmony.

The Lord appears as a judge, a mediator, and an arbitrator. His wise judgments settle the grievances of all offended parties. In fact, the nations are so transformed by his intervention that they willingly transform their tools of destruction into tools of renewal.

Advent begins in hope by contemplating a hopeful end to all things. If we have no hope for peace, how can we ever work toward peace? How can we ever live toward peace? Without hope, we will consciously or unconsciously perpetuate the cycle of violence that engulfs our world.

The nations will never know peace as long as the people have war in their hearts. Many of those who scream for peace the loudest do it with a heart of rage. Each of us carry weapons of war—hurtful thoughts, hurtful words, hurtful actions. We hurl our invectives at those who oppose us, offend us, betray us, and oppress us.

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

Yet, if we truly embrace the Advent vision of the consummation of all things in the perfect justice and equity of God’s grace, then we might draw energy from that vision of peace even now. We might actually begin to live as peaceful people.

The Advent hope promises that the one great Arbitrator will ultimately settle all grievances. With this hope in mind, we can take our weapons of war and turn them into harvesting tools of healing thoughts, healing words and healing actions. We anticipate peace by helping the oppressed, loving the hurting and embracing our enemies.

During the mystery of Advent, may each of us personally enter into the season of renewal with a heart and life that echoes the peaceful dreams of Isaiah.

Categories: Advent Tags: , , ,
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