This Sunday night, as we sit in front of the advent wreath-- now with two candles burning-- my head is fuzzy, my voice is gone, and I can't breathe out of my nose. And although I wanted to just go to bed, rather than try to be spiritual (and especially rather than trying to scrape together coherent thoughts into a blog post), it does feel good to have this small discipline.
This week's advent candle is Peace, and the verse we reflected on comes from Isaiah (written out below), and gives, like last week's verse, a beautiful imagery of the Kingdom that is both Here and Yet to Come. The picture is one of Peace, saying that when the Messiah comes, he will teach us to walk in his ways, and we will beat our swords into plowshares.
The first image that came to mind was of a piece of art called The Tree of Life (pictured above) I had read about in the British Museum: "During Mozambique's civil war (1976 to 1992) millions of guns and other weapons poured into the country and most of them remain hidden or buried in the bush. The project is an attempt to eliminate the threat presented by the hidden weapons. Mozambicans are encouraged to hand them over in exchange for items like ploughs, bicycles and sewing machines. In one case a whole village gave up its weapons in exchange for a tractor. Once the weapons are decommissioned, they are cut up and turned into sculptures by the artists in Maputo."
So, at Christmastime, we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 2:1-5This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days
the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD.