“Swords into plowshares” … That’s the vision of Isaiah, the idealistic prophet of ancient Israel. Isaiah seems to have easily maneuvered between human responsibility and divine providence. He wasn’t hampered by best-selling authors bent on demonstrating the foolishness of faith in a supreme being. Nor was he beholden to a faith that disregarded or downplayed the full measure of human effort required. “Faith” doesn’t negate science, any more than science compromises spirituality.
- First, it requires a lofty ideal. There has to be something holy / noble we are aiming at.
- Second, the ideal has to be attainable.
- Third, sin occurs because of some action or inaction on our part that keeps the ideal from becoming a reality.
As we make our way through Advent at First UMC Burlington, Isaiah is challenging us to believe in and work for peace, justice, healing. On this Tuesday morning, the Liturgy of the Hours from the Roman Catholic Church offers us a text from Isaiah 26:12:
Lord, you established peace for us; all we have accomplished you have done for us.
Note how easily the prophet moves between what has been established for us, and what we have accomplished. These two realities are not competitors; they are accomplices, working in harmony to bring about what we most deeply yearn for and what Life is constantly offering us.
May you be an accomplice today, working in harmony with the Spirit, bringing about peace, justice, healing.