advent 2: keep hoping

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 11.9)

This week's reading from Isaiah is one of my favourites, as Bruce Forsyth would say. I love clarity with which it describes another way of being together. This is the future, this is our aim. If it were not so, how could we have hope?

This Christmas card arrived today from Guatemala. My friend there has worked in El Salvador and Guatemala for many decades. She has lived through hunger and poverty, through bombs falling on the church, through army threats and violence from all sides, indescribable violence and horror. She has witnessed fragile peace and ongoing corruption. She has refused to let memories die, and has kept knocking on the door for justice.

All these years, she has remained faithful to the child-man of peace, the God of peace and the spirit of peace. And her hope gives me courage to hold onto Isaiah's vision.

If the lion and lamb can lie side by side to watch the stars high in the night sky, we must believe we too can stretch out next to the one we have been told is a threat to us, the one we should hate or destroy; and point out the stars as they glisten and shimmer.

All today's readings are available here.