Devotion for March 26, 2021 from Pastor Tim Huff of Holy Trinity:
“In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb”
Then a shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse; from Jesse’s roots, a branch will blossom: The spirit of YHWH will rest on you — a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and reverence for YHWH…Then the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf and the lion cub will graze together, and a little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:1-2, 6 The Inclusive Bible
Isaiah speaks God’s word to a nation on the brink of war with a much larger power. Death and destruction hover on the horizon, and Isaiah speaks this improbable word of peace into that storm of fear and destruction. The Davidic line is dying out, and the nation’s future is in jeopardy. Into that season of dark imaginings God speaks this word, announcing not just peace but a future that is dramatically different from the present. It sounds good, but who would believe such a word? Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kingdom seems so far off.
In three deadly shootings Tuesday at Atlanta-area spas, eight people lost their lives, leaving behind family members — one an infant daughter — and friends, including longtime customers. Seven of the eight killed were women. Six people were of Asian descent.
Washington Post, March 20, 2021
In the future that God plans, the wolf will learn not to eat the lamb, and the leopard will be full enough not to lick its lips over the young goat. God’s creatures will rise above the ways of the world and live into a vision of peace.
God’s message requires us to have a vision of the future. God keeps moving toward that vision, and in listening to Isaiah we hear where God is going. God’s promises require a kind of spiritual audacity. Speaking unlikely visions of peace when people are in a state of fear, pain and panic about the present moment demands spiritual courage. God is creating a new place where hurt and destruction are replaced by harmony and safety. God wants us to join in working for peace and dreaming of a safer place for all to live. A world where our differences enlighten one another.
The 21-year-old suspect in Monday’s massacre at a Colorado supermarket—which left 10 dead including a store manager and a police officer—faces 10 counts of murder in the first degree, police said Tuesday.
CNN, March 23, 2021
Whether we’re wolves or lambs, snakes or babies, living together peacefully requires us to step out of what we know into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable world. Our usual instincts won’t work here — we need a different kind of spirit which only God can give. We have to learn new ways of listening and thinking, as well as new patterns of living.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, identifying 838 active hate groups across the United States in 2020.
Drawn from The Southern Poverty Law Center web page on March 23, 2021
The promise that we are given is that God is with us in this work. Our world holds the same darkness and fear that Isaiah saw, and God’s word of promise belongs to us too. The dead stump of David’s line will crack, and bring forth a new shoot of life.
That growth from a dead place reveals the presence of God. As we prepare for Holy Week and The Easter Good News, may our own dead places come to life as God’s power comes into the rot and the cracks, and creates something new.
When God’s vision of Peace feels impossible, that doesn’t mean we stop working for it.