Nov. 23: An unexpected peace
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Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, declared, “All things come to pass and perish through strife.” Much later, Thomas Jefferson seemed to agree. “The tree of liberty,” he proclaimed, “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Are we destined to such self-fulfilling prophecies of warfare and violence? Is humanity simply bound by fate to be what Oliver Stone’s movie title suggests, Natural Born Killers?
Against the tide of such political and cultural philosophies, along comes Advent each year to remind us that time and space bend to God’s imaginative alternatives. Isaiah prophesies of an “unexpected hour,” a day when the nations of the world will voluntarily “flow up” the mountain of the Lord, and there under the tutelage of Rabbi God, will submit their differences for mediation. In the end, they will agree to melt down their weapons of war into implements of agriculture and board up their various war colleges forever.
Elsewhere, Isaiah foresees the first Advent as a foretaste of the final Advent, “For unto us a child is born . . .He shall be called the Prince of Peace . . . His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace” (Isa. 9:6-7a). At the birth of Jesus, the multitude of angels concurred, “glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!” (Luke 2:14). Is it too much, then, to imagine that the prophetic vision of Isaiah in today’s Advent lesson is more than a distant possibility? Let us devote our hopes, our dreams, our wills and our lives to making this prophecy come true to the blessing of the whole world.
Lord, may the Advent vision of Isaiah come to pass today in our lives, in our homes, in our world. May we find ways to come to God, to learn to mediate our differences, to transform our violent instincts into peaceful practices. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Amen.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV)