First Thursday of Advent
– You can ponder on the picture. For a method of praying with pictures click button below.
– You can pray on the words of Scripture. For methods of praying with scripture click button below.
– You can follow the suggestions in the daily ‘Reflection’.
– You can listen to the music
Isaiah 11:1-10 (HSCB)
Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
His delight will be in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes,
He will not execute justice by what He hears with His ears,
but He will judge the poor righteously
and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
He will strike the land with discipline from His mouth,
and He will kill the wicked with a command from His lips.
Righteousness will be a belt around His loins;
faithfulness will be a belt around His waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fatling will be together,
and a child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze,
their young ones will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit,
and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.
None will harm or destroy another on My entire holy mountain,
for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the sea is filled with water.
Our reading today offers us an idealised world where no harm is done and all the animals are vegetarians; even the lion! It’s a world where other strange things happen. Such as the poor and oppressed receive respect and justice. This kingdom will come to pass when the Messiah arrives.
Those of us in the English speaking world tend to pride ourselves on being practical and tend to scorn too idealised a world. Yet we need to have principles on which to base our actions.
In recent years we have begun to see the writing on the wall for the planet.
If we don’t change the way we exploit the earth then we could destroy the very planet we rely upon for the existence of humanity. Nations need to work together to devote resources and energy to caring for our world. We need dreams of a world where swords are beaten into ploughshares, where nations invest in avoiding climate change and encouraging biodiversity rather than in nuclear missiles.
If we don’t aim for an ideal world with respect and justice for all creation, then we are not going to have a world of peace, and without peace we will destroy humanity.
It’s time to dream of our ideal world; and to work towards making it happen.
Click to purchase sacred music by John Rutter