Dr. Lynn Shmidt - Advent Week 1 - HOPE
"The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." – Isaiah 2:1-4
At the time of Isaiah's prophecy, Israel was in the middle of a very troubled time. They were surrounded by the rising and falling of empires, and were constantly in peril of devastation that threatened its existence. In Isaiah's lifetime he would see the Assyrians sweep down from the north to take over the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and threaten the Southern Kingdom of Judah with the same fate. Even so, Isaiah could see a whole new vision for God's presence in the world. He dreamed and he hoped for a time when God Himself would come to earth and establish His reign in order to bring restoration to His creation.
I grew up during the Vietnam War era, and years later I remember visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. Standing there and seeing some familiar names who I knew had perished during the war, my own heart cried out for Peace on Earth. I long for the place where "they shall learn war no more."
In the forty or so years since the end of the Vietnam War, if we have learned one thing it is that there is no peace on earth. The best efforts of humanity have not yielded peace. As in Isaiah's time we look to a future, God's future, in which the restoration of creation is complete. Peace came to earth 2000 years ago, but has not fully come. Today may we celebrate the Prince of Peace and His advent on earth, and live every day in the expectation and hope of His return to fully establish His Kingdom of Peace.
- Dr. Lynn Shmidt, Associate Professor of Christian Studies & Philosophy