Birthing the Peaceable Kingdom
Michael Wright of Rome, Italy
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 2:4-5
Recently on a weekend trip, we headed to higher and cooler temperatures with our dog Domingo into the Apuan Alps in northwestern Tuscany. I had always wanted to visit the city of Carrara, famed for its marble production. The five-hour car ride was a flat drive that ended in a climb up the mountain road: a slow, long, and windy path where we started to gradually see what looked like snowy peaks that eventually revealed themselves as mountains of marble.
We stopped to observe the site of the Roman quarry that has been in production since the first century BCE, the site that produced the marble for Roman monuments such as the Pantheon, the Pyramid of Cestius, and Trajan’s Column. These are the same mountains that produced the marble for the Medieval and Renaissance Cathedrals of Italy, sacred spaces such as the Baptistry of Florence and the Cathedrals of Siena and Pisa. Michelangelo came to Carrara for the first time in 1497 as a young man to choose the marble that would become his Piet\xc3\xa0 sculpture. As I stared at the exposed precious, brilliant, and veiny stone in the mountain, I could not help but think of Michelangelo’s famous quote: “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
With Michelangelo’s quote in mind, I stared at the mountainside searching in sacred pause to see the masterpiece within, already present, but in need of vision to be born. This made me think about Zion, the Kingdom that is already here yet in need of a prophetic people to chisel away superfluous material and work with God to reveal what God has already created and desires to reveal fully. A prophetic people will catch a vision and sense of the kingdom to come and will announce it before others can see it fully. In faith, they work as a community to free the sanctuary that is the Peaceable Kingdom: a living stone, a spiritual house sculpted by God’s servant people.
“Trust what is being born.”
Jesus, the Peaceful One
We have spent this year with a guiding question: Are we moving closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One? As we near the end of this calendar year, we review how this question has been shaping and forming us. In our thoughts, words, and actions, have we been embodying Jesus, the Peaceful One? What might it look like to move closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One as we make space in our lives for Christ incarnate this Advent season?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.