“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;

the lion shall eat straw like the ox;

and dust shall be the serpent’s food.

They shall not hurt or destroy;

in all my holy mountain.” Says the Lord.

Isaiah 65: 25

 

This picture of peace among all of creation is not our reality. We live in a world where animals still do what has been natural to them for thousands of years. So do people. We hurt and maim each other with great zeal. We even take special delight in our capacity for carnage and waste. Great debates ensue over the proper level and degree of violence that we should employ upon those with whom we are at war. As our daily story of destruction is told and retold, it would seem that Mars is not “The Angry Planet”; rather, Earth is.

 

None of this pleases God. There is not an instance of our waging war on others that brings Him delight. Every person that is harmed or killed is a bearer of the Lord’s image, and all were “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the hand of the Creator. Humanity is comprised of God’s sacred handiwork. Although God is very stern and exacting in the way that He determines each person’s eternal fate, the Lord reserves the right to judge to Himself. I am not granted that right or authority, and our nations are not either. We are called upon by God to treat every other person in a manner that reflects that individual’s value and worth to God. The same mandate applies to our governments.

 

Let me get back to Isaiah’s words, for I do not think that he has set out a completely idealistic and future-focused image of life. The prospect of peace is real and it is possible. It can be accomplished only in and through Christ. He came into this world in order to bring people into a peace relationship with God, and out of that transformed life, we can enter into a state of peace with each other. This starts with accepting others as God’s children regardless of all that separates and distinguishes us from each other. Peace is engaged in the sharing of meals together. This is a time when weapons are left outside the door, culture is embraced as beauty, and defenses are set aside as our basic needs for food and for fellowship are satisfied. Yes, in the end, I do believe that Isaiah is describing the possibility of today as it is found in the Prince of Peace.