Reconciliation | Tuesday, December 4
Scripture: Isaiah 11:6-9
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
“The Peaceable Kingdom” by Edward Hicks (ca. 1826)
While it might be a far cry from the typical Christmas-card artwork, Hick’s painting very much captures the spirit of Advent. The American Quaker minister and painter created sixty-two variations of this composition depicting the 11th chapter of Isaiah. The works are an expression of the Hebrew concept of shalom: the state of flourishing brought about by the promised Messiah’s reign. In the foreground, animals and children living in harmony with one another represent the prophetic vision of the kingdom’s in-breaking, while the background features Pennsylvania settlers trading goods with their Native American hosts. Hicks sought to convey the harmony that is possible in a world that is reconciled to God—one in which there would be no need for weapons and in which nature itself is at rest.
Silence for Reflection
• What captures your attention in this painting?
• Imagine that you are a visual artist. How would you depict a world in which there was no longer anger or enmity or strife?
• When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” what images come to mind?
• Is there someone with whom you need to be reconciled? What steps might you take to begin that process?
Prayer for the Day:
Lord, in this season of Advent, I rejoice at the coming of your eternal kingdom. And yet in the darkness and pain of the world, your reign feels so far away. In the time given to me, grant me the grace to participate in your ministry of restoring what is broken and reconciling what is at war within my own heart. Fill me with longing for the day when swords are beaten into plowshares and lions lay down with lambs. I pray this in the name of the lamb who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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