A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
6The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
9They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
It’s Advent. Wait. Isaiah was a prophet who predicted the coming of the Messiah, nearly 700 years before Jesus was born. Calmness and peace would be in God’s future kingdom. Creatures on earth would live and work together in harmony. Wait.
Isaiah’s images had me digging a little deeper in my memory. I reflected on my high school choir when we performed “The Peaceable Kingdom” by Randall Thompson. We rode in a school bus to a studio and recorded it! The sheet music cover had a dark green background with everything printed in white: gentle lion, goat, lamb-type animals, and a little cherub child with its arm around a tiger.
Isaiah had me digging a little deeper online. Artist Edward Hicks painted over 60 different versions of Peaceable Kingdom, continually changing them, showing what Christ came to teach us. Born in 1780, during the American Revolution, he became a Quaker minister, sign painter and artist. Hicks’ paintings included nature-defying animals: leopard and goat kid, cow and bear, human babies and snakes, all being gentle and kind to each other. A child was holding a branch representing the family tree that would lead to Jesus.
Isaiah made me think about Alaska. In this vision, animals shall share common grazing grounds. Grizzly and black bear shall lie down with the moose calf, walrus with the orcas, wolverine with the ground squirrels. A child in a fur parka shall lead us.
How would a peaceable kingdom look in our homes and communities? Shall we dig a little deeper?
Creator God, surround us with your love. Guide us in peaceful conversations. Enliven us to work for peace in our communities. Amen
Marilyn Rosene – Dillingham Trinity Lutheran Church, Dillingham