A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
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 11:1-9 (NRSV)
‘Twas the season of Advent, and still throughout town,
Pushing and fighting and stress abound.
Only two weeks ’til Christmas and so much to do,
The shopping and cooking and organizing. Whew!
But, at the little white church on Old Post Road,
They met again that the story might be told.
They took a deep breath, and they tried hard to listen
That God might share with them a piece of His mission.
They waited in silence and lit the second light –
A candle of peace to bring an end to the fight.
They sang and they prayed that peace might someday come true.
But Pastor Kelly reminded them, “Not without you.”
Our prayers and songs sound so nice and so sweet,
But if things are to change we must use our hands and our feet.
Peace will not come like a wish and a dream,
But it comes when we work together full-steam.
You see, God works through us, and there’s so much to be done.
So, let’s think about what we can do. Let’s have fun!
We’ll reach out to others in need around town,
And offer a warm welcome to those who are down.
We’ll feed the hungry and share gifts with the poor.
We’ll pray for the sick and those who are hurt and sore.
But before we go out to do all those things,
Let’s look back to our scripture and the message it brings.
It says, “A shoot shall come out,” and, “A branch shall grow.”
“There will be wisdom, counsel, and knowledge,” you know.
“The wolf and the leopard shall lay down with the kid,”
And all will be amazed at what God did.
But the part that I love the best, as you know,
Is that, “A child will lead them,” wherever they go.
No one will hurt, and peace will abound.
What a gift that would be here in our little town!
But let us not sit and wait for that day.
Instead, let us work to make things okay.
Let us share the stories of hope and of peace
That they might truly become a way to release
The fear and the pain that weighs heavy on all,
If we only work to follow God’s loving call.
As our song tells us when we sing it with glee,
“Let there be peace earth, and let it begin with me!”
Now, it won’t all be easy. We’ve got lots to complete.
It will take lending a hand and moving our feet.
“Many hands make light work,” says our good friend Ed,
And if we all work together, we’ll soon get ahead.
We’ll break down the barriers, and even the field.
We’ll remember Jesus and the people he healed.
We’ll love and not hate, and we’ll encourage our neighbors.
Our hearts will be warmed by the result our labors.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, as you go,
May you remember the story from so long ago
Of the baby that came to bring hope and bring peace
So that fighting and fear and pain might decrease.
Spend time helping others. Do all that you can
To bring peace and goodwill to our broken land.
And just so you know, you will be reimbursed,
For your time and your efforts. You’ll receive a big burst
Of joy in your heart, that will soon overflow
When you think of the peace that you have come to know.
So may it be so, and thanks be to God.
By the gift of peace, may we all be awed.
May our hearts be warmed time and time again,
and may we end this tale with a rousing, “Amen!”