Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
The elevator in the hotel in Reno was filled with a bizarre collection of early morning gamblers, a women’s bowling team and me – just in from jogging. I was in Reno to conduct a public relations workshop for my company’s arts program but my mind was a million miles away.
For months, I’d been reading seriously about peace and justice issues, feeling like a child of the ‘60s again. And it was cool. But suddenly on that elevator, I realized something difficult and important. I had to change.
I couldn’t write letters to Congress about peace and justice while continuing to nourish a couple of favorite old grudges. Ugh! I had to heal my relationship with one person, especially. And I didn’t want to. I had enjoyed being angry with her for years.
This, I think, is the message of today’s magnificent passage from Isaiah.
It’s not enough to think longingly of a world where “the wolf shall be the guest of the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid” or even to get politically active for peace and justice. We have to do something about making peace with the “lions” and “leopards” in our own lives. So how do we start?
Simply asking this question is an excellent indication that we want to make peace. Minus that desire, we’ll never get unstuck. There’s no better time of year to begin than now during the season of Advent.
Advent readings like today’s promote positive introspection. We are called to get ready for the coming great event by cleaning up our lives, even as we clean our houses, buy presents and bake cookies.
This is also a season when we can more readily accept Jesus’ “revelation to the merest children” because it’s a time when we may wish we were still children. This is helpful in making peace in our lives.
As children, we learned to say “I’m sorry” and to start over. That’s not a bad move for disarming both ourselves and our “lions.” Having disarmed ourselves and the “lions,” we can try to identify their good qualities and focus on those.
We can move closer to the grand vision of Isaiah: “There shall
be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain for the earth shall be filled
with knowledge of the Lord as water covers the sea.”
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