A Glimpse of the Ultimate Future
Isaiah 11.1-9. Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will 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. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
In the first paragraph, this passage seems to be pointing to the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Yet, vv 6-9 didn't take place then and don't seem to be happening today. What are we to make of this? I see vv 6-9 as starting with the incarnation (at the very least) or the resurrection (at the very most). Therefore, to me, it seems to be the vocation of the mystical body of Jesus. That is, we should be the ones who are trying to implement those things. As, perhaps, sign posts to the rest of creation.
We must try to create new ways of dealing with conflict (represented by the prey and predator in vv 6-9). We must be creative. We can't resort to violence. That is the way of falseness. We must look deeper than our falseness to the light, love, and wisdom of God to find new ways, new beginnings, to handle the extreme falseness within ourselves, our enemies, and all of creation.
Maybe we haven't tried hard enough? Maybe we know that, in the back of our minds, we always have violence. The problem comes with the fact that, oftentimes, violence works in the short run. It answers quickly and (seemingly) solves the problem. But for us to move forward, we have to be people of non-violence. We have to be the people of Isaiah 11.6-9. We, above all others, should be leading the charge for non-violence, under the banner of the Prince of Peace, to come up with new, non violent ways of dealing with conflict within ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations, and our world.
Peace be with you.