Isaiah 11:1-9

             A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
             The 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.
             His 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;
                         but 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.
             Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
                        and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
            The 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.
             The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together;
                        and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
             The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
                        and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
            They 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.  (NRSV)

             The wolf and the lamb, the calf and the lion, all lying down together in peace?  Some fantasy!  We cannot even have peace in this country, much less peace in the world. 

            So why would Isaiah provide his people with this vision when it seems so unrealistic?  The word that comes to my mind here is “hope.”  In spite of what seems to be an impossibility, Isaiah is challenging us to hope for peace.  Hope is defined as: “desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment.” 

            This Advent, I plan to pray a lot for peace in my heart and peace in the world.

Lord, fill our hearts with hope that is based on our experience

of your love, for with you all things are possible.

 Rev. Del Parris

Retired Minister

Clarksburg – Central Christian Church