A World at Peace

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AmenWhen we think of peaceful quiet and calm, we might think of a wonderful image like that scene on the front of your bulletin.Calm waters, quiet noises of nature, stillness…

Isaiah 11:1-9

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

When we think of peaceful quiet and calm, we might think of a wonderful image like that scene on the front of your bulletin.

Calm waters, quiet noises of nature, stillness…

These are beautiful places to find calm. I would imagine some of you are picturing your own place where you have found quiet and calm. You feel your place of security and relaxation. You rest easily there, because you are safe and the worry and busy-ness of the world can’t seem to reach you. You are safe, quiet, and calm in that space.

But listen to the verses from Isaiah. Wolves are lying down with lambs, leopards with kids, calves with lions, and a little child is the one to lead them. Cow and bears are grazing, apparently as relatives in a new herbivore diet, no longer any threat between them. Babies and toddlers are sticking their hands into viper’s nests without any ill-effect.

Have you seen any of that recently?

We are surprised enough when we see those pictures or videos online of two unexpected species getting along: The cute tiger hanging out with a chimpanzee or the dog and duck that have become pals. These aren’t just cute images; these challenge what we know of our world. We know what might typically happen when these animals meet. The duck might not be waddling away happily afterwards.

If we are being honest with ourselves, we know the issues within our own kind as humans. It isn’t just that animals are killing each other for food. It isn’t just the threat animals and natural disasters pose to us. And when we do consider humankind, it isn’t just extremes of war among us humans either. We each have a great capacity to do harm and we see that quite regularly each day.

The peace and harmony described here in Isaiah is incredibly foreign to us. This is unknown. This is a complete reordering of creation as natural predator and prey are nestled together.

Who is able to reorder creation? The one who ordered creation in the first place and the same one who comes from this stump of Jesse

“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

That royal family tree was a stump now. It didn’t seem like there was much hope left for this royal family tree, but look! Something new is coming and it will make all things radically different.

Jesus comes from this family line.

Jesus comes to turn things on their head and calls for peace and right order in the midst of our violent and chaotic world. Jesus is the answer, the one from this family line of King David who will not just put things in right order, but will alter creation to bring peace to the most unlikely of circumstances. Jesus’ work in life and death to is bring this right order and peace.

But I ask you again, have you seen any of that recently? Have you seen a world at peace?

Still we watch countries all over the world at war. Still we find ourselves teaching our children how to be watchful for dangers posed by the environment and dangers from people around us. Still we pray for victims of domestic violence. Still we struggle to care for the earth, its creatures, and future generations.

We live with very real knowledge that there are many dangers in our world. While we look to Christ and strive for peace, we see the painful gap. There is still a lot of trouble and danger. It is hard to find peace, quiet, and calm in the chaos swirling around us.

Christ has come, but our world still struggles in conflict. So, what’s going on here? If Jesus is the one who is bringing creation into this right order of peace and harmony, why are will still waiting?

Do you notice how verse 9 says this peace will come about?

“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.”

“The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

That is quite an image to me. Water doesn’t just cover the sea. Water is the sea! It encompasses everything. This is how the knowledge of the Lord will flood the earth one day, bringing this everlasting peace that covers all creation and moves in, with, around, and through all creation. This isn’t a general knowledge of the Lord; this is fully knowing and being one with the presence of God.

One day the knowledge of the Lord will encompass everything to bring an end to all destruction.

The end of destruction is the preservation of all of God’s creation. This is that peace we seek as it seeps like water into every crack in creation.

We may well see destruction around us now, but we can also see the knowledge of the Lord bringing peace.

Just as a small stream brings sustains life of plants and creatures, the presence of the Lord in a neighbor sustains us as we experience pain and spiritual thirst as they sit with us.

Just as a glass of water quenches our thirst to sustain us in our journey, the prayer and kind words of a friend encourages us to continue on despite our pain.

Just as a rushing river brings water to miles of land, a community of believers brings sustenance through food shelves, homeless services, ministry of friends, and much more.

Even the smallest drop of Jesus’ presence in a neighbor can make a great different in bringing peace, quiet, and calm in the midst of chaos.

We still thirst for calm and peace in our own lives. We weather the droughts alongside our neighbors, looking to the presence of God to see us through to places of peace, calm, and security.

But we wait knowing of the days to come, days when destruction is no longer a part of our story. God’s creation will thrive in peace and will not be lacking as creation thrives in harmony together.

The age-old curse will be broken.

In Genesis, after the snake tricked Adam and Eve in the garden, God said to the snake, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)

Hear these words from Isaiah again, “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.”

Not only is a child playing around the homes of snakes, but the repercussions of the first sins of humankind will pass away. No longer will the viper strike the heel and the human strike the head of the snake. Sin is no more and the effects of sin are no more. Creation is brought into peace and order once again.

Right order is made. All is at peace. This is who our God is. Our God doesn’t stop at making things better. Our God will set things all things right, ending all destruction amongst God’s beautiful creations. This world at peace brings right order among us, right order toward God, and right order with creation around us. With the knowledge of the Lord, we get to be part of this work.

With this knowledge of the Lord, we ask that God with continue to teach us to be quiet and calm, to seek and bring peace, to know God’s ways, and be sent out with this knowledge of the Lord.

We go out to with knowledge of our Lord as we bring peace to this earth and we wait with great anticipation for the day when the earth with be flooded like the sea with knowledge of the Lord, leaving all creation together in God’s presence in a world at peace. Thanks be to God. Amen.

 

 

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