November 28th, 2005
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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My reflection on the reading in Isaiah for today is more hopeful
than it would have been even a year ago. Perhaps that means I am
growing in my faith; I hope so. I count myself among those who advocate
peace and therefore I am very familiar with the verses, “They
shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning
hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against another; nor
shall they train for war again.” But besides the hopeful vision
this represents for many of us, how does this passage apply to our
lives? It is prophetic, and as such, it is not just the product
of a better vision, but also a challenge to us to connect our higher
purposes with the purpose of God. I think that Isaiah shares his
vision of peace with us not just for the sake of peace, but also
to help us grow in faith.
If we place this verse in the context of the rest of the text, we
see that Isaiah is hopeful that many people and many nations shall
come to the Lord’s house to learn of God’s ways and
to walk in God’s paths. An even more positive note is played
in the Psalm for today. “Let us go rejoicing to the house
of the Lord” is what people of faith should do. “According
to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord”
is our charge. So there is where I think I have grown a little in
my faith. I think we are encouraged to pray for peace with rejoicing.
I take that to mean we should pray with confidence that our prayers
for peace for ourselves and all those we love will be answered.
That takes great faith.
The connection I see to the Old Testament lessons and those in the
Gospel is the necessity for an active faith, not just membership
in a church that professes faith. We know faith requires a response
to God. If we want peace, we have to do more than pray for peace,
we need to work for peace is what we peace activists say. But the
lessons for today suggest to me that our faith also calls us to
rejoice in knowing that the peace of God is already in our midst.
People who work for peace should walk in the paths of God with rejoicing.
But there are a lot of peace activists who aren’t very cheerful
to be around. Their efforts might be counter productive. So as I
approach another Advent season, and as I pray and work for peace,
I will rejoice when I share the “Peace of God” with
my relatives and friends.
to the writer of this reflection.
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