Creative Arts Advent Devotional: Week 2, Day 4

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Thursday, December 14, 2017:

Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 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.

Isaiah 11: 5-8

Here in this passage science is suspended—we know these statements are not true in our world today, simply by observing the Animal Kingdom.

Yet, did not our hearts burn within us, yearning for something we can’t quite name, stirring our spirits toward a dream, as we read this passage? Literature like Plato’s “Republic,” Thomas More’s “Utopia,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, I Have A Dream speech have painted a picture of what could be, and yet is not. Something so fantastical it could only be read with longing or mocked with cynicism. It leaves us asking our-selves: What do we yearn for?

When we hear of war and rumors of war, when we see someone sleeping on the street in the cold, when children don’t go to school but instead go to jail, and power continues to dominate and silence: What do we yearn for?

What I find so compelling about Scripture and our God-given faith is that it reveals something so deep about myself, others, and the world. This text captures my deepest yearnings even as I grow cynical and skeptical. Isaiah offers a world I can hardly imagine.

The good news is that in Jesus Christ, Isaiah’s vision is being fulfilled. He is the “child” leading this parade of reconciled relationships, and it is this child we celebrate on Christmas—leading us toward reconciliation with one another until the “upside down” Kingdom of God’s grace is established everywhere.

Prayer: Gracious God, give us the faith and courage to inspire in us the dream of Isaiah, and may we see it fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In His name, Amen!

Creative Call-to-Action: Take 5 minutes today to draw what a “utopian world” would look like. What do you see and who is there?

—Rev. Edwin Estevez