Jesus Is Our Peace
By David R. Brock of Redmond, OR, USA
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. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 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. —Isaiah 11:6–9 NRSV
Jesus was walking around Bethlehem this past week, trying to find the cave or stable where he was born. An old man recognized him. He said, “This dream of yours isn’t working out so well, Jesus. I tried it for a lot of years, but given all that has gone on in this country and right here in your hometown, I’m giving up. I’d suggest you do so as well.”
Jesus looked into the weathered face and said, “Right now, over near Megiddo, a grain of wheat is dying. In a few months it will produce a hundred grains. Those will be harvested, ground into flour, and made into bread for our tables. Right now your wife is caring for your grandchild with Down syndrome. She is encouraging him for the 100th time to tie his shoes. He’s about to get it. She thought about giving up, but love kept her going, and tomorrow he’ll tie his shoes. And, right now there are citizens and leaders finding ways to keep relationships of trust alive here in Bethlehem. I’m not giving up.”
Jesus was in the foyer of the church after the Advent service Sunday. Somebody mentioned a couple that didn’t come to church anymore because they didn’t get much out of it—that we talk a good talk but they don’t see much relevance between what we do and what the real world is all about.
Jesus said he felt the same way sometimes. He said he was sad we weren’t always careful about preparing the soil of our souls, about tending to those things that grow a person and a community. He was sad we weren’t wise enough to realize that it takes time; it takes a generation and a community.
Jesus said, “We plant even when we don’t know if there will be a harvest. I believe there will be a harvest of peace. Seeds lie in fallow ground waiting for the right moment, the right conditions. People are tending, training, giving, and there are fields ready for harvest.” He added, “As long as the God seed of possibility is among us, I will trust all to God. I will be the grain of wheat that dies. I will be the bread of life.”
Maybe this season we are John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Christ in the lives of others. Maybe this season we can release a deeply hidden seed of hope we’ve been carrying so it can flourish to unbelievable proportions in our lives and the lives around us.
It is not that we will make the crooked paths straight and the mountains low. That is the work of God. But we can nurture the seeds of God within us. We can spread God’s word and God’s peace.
Advent Prayer Phrase
Anticipation deepens within.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?