Scripture: Isa. 2:1-4
Key verse: (4) 4He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; 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 any more
Reflection: I will pray for you. We must get together. Let’s do lunch one of these days. Would love to read that book.
You have said one of those things recently and you may have meant it and you may even have made it happen. But here’s the thing — you made it happen. It didn’t happen by accident or because you wished it. It happened because, in the words of my friend’s mom, you applied the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and worked.
Little happens without effort and determination. So when Isaiah blesses our Advent journey with the long prayed for vision of nation never again making war against nation, notice the caveat. The swords that nations no longer lift up and the spears that will never again be thrown are turned into farming implements. What was designed for fear, protection and destruction are transformed into that which can create, enable and bless — but not by accident. They have to beat them. They have to have purpose of mind, hearts with more trust than fear, and hands that are willing to let God’s kingdom reshape and repurpose their desires in order for this vision to hold. No wishing in the world can bend steel and wood and iron and stone into something else. You have to want it to happen and do everything you can to make it so.
What’s harder to reshape sometimes than a sword, however, is a human heart. Flesh and fear, blood and history combine in an alchemy to produce a stubborn, willful thing. To transform that requires no less than the Creator of heaven and earth, the very one willing to make our hearts his home. Let the Advent transformation continue.
Prayer: Demanding God, requiring repentance, cry out for us to turn around! Hear us as we confess our failure in working as much as wishing. Hear us as we confess our complacency and despair. Hear us as we confess that we do not succeed in our efforts to resist evil. Hear us as we confess and in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, have mercy upon us all. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].