by Frank Schwall
In today’s passage Isaiah prophecies the birth of a special child. The “shoot that shall come out from the stump of Jesse” is Jesus. Jesus is the one the spirit of God rests upon.
Isaiah concludes the passage with a lovely portrayal of the “Kingdom of Peace” for which we still long, and which this child came to lead. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the calf and the lion shall graze together. They will not hurt or destroy; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.
Edward Hicks painted his famed “Peaceable Kingdom” at least 100 times. Each rendition was slightly different, but always, the animals lived together in peace.
Isaiah’s vision has yet to be fully realized. Our world is still filled with injustice and strife. Wolves still eat lambs. Humankind continues at war. When will there be peace? The Peaceable Kingdom will come in its fullness when Christ comes again.
The Peaceable Kingdom is God’s dream for creation. God, in his goodness, has allowed us to share this dream. Longing for it, looking for it, and working for it, is good. This is part of what we do at Advent. We look back. We look around us. We look forward. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”