Advent Devotion – Monday December 17
The Rev. Paul J. Schneider, II, Interim Pastor at Burien Community Church, Burien, WA, Founder and Director of the Oasis Project, ABSW ’17
A World Unlike Our Own
1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 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.
3 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;
4 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.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
6 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.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9 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. (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV)
These words from the prophet Isaiah are remarkable. Not for the way they speak of the overcoming of the natural order: the wolf and the lamb living together, the leopard and the kid resting peacefully, the lion eating straw and not preying on the other animals. Nor for the way they speak of one to come who will be of the Spirit of God: one full of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and awe of God. Nor even for the way it speaks of a new peace found even between enemies set at the dawn of time, like the child of humanity and the serpent. These words are remarkable for the way they proclaim that knowledge of God will be over the whole earth like waters cover the depths.
The season of Advent is a season of incarnation, but also one of holy imagination. It is nearly impossible for us to imagine a world where knowledge of God surrounds us like the air we breathe. Yet, that very promise is the world we strive to create in building the Heavenly Realm. We must overcome our disbelief that such a world is possible, and instead let God breathed imaginings inspire us to help create a new reality. For such a time as this our Savior came as one most helpless, yet most connected to God. For such a time as this we must learn to see a world unlike our own in the most remarkable ways.
God who made all things, inspire us to see the world as you envision it. Let your pneuma, your breath and spirit, surround us like air. Help us to overcome our fears, our factionalism, our hatreds, and our disbelief. Make our tongues ready to proclaim your love for all people, and speak of the one who came to incept the Heavenly Realm with grace, peace and truth. May we also speak, to encourage holy imagination in the others we encounter, to create together a world unlike our own. Amen.