An Alternative Vision               Isaiah 11:1-2, 5-10   

An Alternative Vision               Isaiah 11:1-2, 5-10   

An Alternative Vision                                            Isaiah 11:1-2, 5-10

It’s a dog eat dog world. It’s survival of the fittest.  Might makes right.  These are phrases that describe how much of the word seems to operate.  They are descriptions of the world as it is, and when we pick up the paper or watch the evening news we might agree that these phrases do appear to be accurate for the state of reality in many places.   They have a ring of truth relating to the competition, cruelty and injustice that many people experience. 

But while they may describe the way the world often seems to be, do they accurately describe the world as God intended it?  Are abuses of power and scrambling for dominance the way God wants the world to operate?  Or is there an alternative vision that the Scriptures proclaim?

The prophet Isaiah puts forth a view of a time in the future when the predatory practices of the powerful will be no more and the strong and the vulnerable will co-exist in harmony and there will be peace between those who were once enemies.  Isaiah uses imagery from the animal kingdom to describe his vision.  He says, 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.   They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”   

This vision from Isaiah chapter eleven is one of the texts that often appears during Advent.  It is connected with the coming of the Christ-child because the early Christians believed that this vision of God’s holy mountain was being ushered in by the birth of Jesus.  The ministry of Jesus embodied this vision of peace and his resurrection empowered his followers to live into this alternative vision even before he came again.

What would it mean for us to live as if this vision from Isaiah could be a reality today?  What if instead of allowing phrases and images of cruelty and competition dominate our imagination, we filled our hearts and minds with images of a wolf and a lamb lying down together?  What if pictures of peace drove our actions towards the goal of a holy harmony?

-Pastor Erik Goehner