Peace on Earth; Good Will to Men
Isaiah 11:1-10 | Earlham School of Religion's Justice & Peace Studies
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.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Questions for Reflection:
In today's reading, Isaiah foretells of a messiah who will be the "Prince of Peace." Enemies will come together and live in peace; justice will be brought to the poor of the earth; the lion and the lamb will lie down together.
Christians celebrate Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ Child who fulfills this prophesy from Isaiah. But looking around , it seems as though we have a way to go before all nations will come together to live in peace. Political leaders, religious groups, and even neighbors struggle to find compromise on the critical issues of our time. It can be hard to imagine a world in which total enemies could come together as peaceful fiends.
And yet, this is the Messiah we celebrate at Christmas. Today we ask:
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