Archive for December 23rd, 2006

The Advent of Peace

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 11:6-9 and Luke 23:18-19 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

This passage from Isaiah is a common reading for Advent. It’s associated with the Kingdom of God, and most Christians believe it is fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. The poetic images of the lion and lamb, the cow and the bear, and the child and the asp have come to be called the “peaceable kingdom.” It’s a popular image in art, as with Edwards Hick’s famous Peaceable Kingdom paintings.

This is what happens, we’re told, when we allow the Prince of Peace to rule in our lives and in our hearts. It’s also a vision of the future we can all hope for, when God will rule in the hearts of all women and men.

The Gospel passage is not one normally associated with Advent, but I think it says something important about how we too-often relate to the arrival (or advent) of the Prince of Peace, and to his peaceable kingdom.

Barabbas represented a way of approaching the world with violence. We’re told he was in prison for fomenting rebellion and for murder. But Jesus approached the world with peace. Even when questioned and flogged by the Sanhedren and Pilate, Jesus refused to lash out at them. On the cross, he asked God to forgive those who crucified him.

Jesus came preaching a new kingdom, but the crowds wanted the old kingdom — just with a different king. Given a choice between the Prince of Peace and a violent leader, the people chose violence. They shouted, “Give us Barabbas!” And we still do that today.

Thought for the day: Do you long for the peaceable kingdom prophesied by Isaiah? If so, are you choosing the way of the Prince of Peace or of Barabbas? The advent (arrival) of the Prince of Peace is here, but he needs followers to bring about his kingdom.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: those we know and love who are dealing with illness, whether physical, mental, or emotional.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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