Thursday, November 14, 2013

Signs of the Peaceable Kingdom

This Sunday’s lectionary* reading includes a passage from the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew scriptures, which reads in part:  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox. . . (Isaiah 65.25).

Since the beginning of November, there have been a startling confluence of signs of hope here on planet earth:

Syria  meets the deadline for destruction of its chemical weapons facilities.  Tomorrow is the deadline for destruction of any stockpiles of chemical weapons there.  The civil war continues in Syria, but the threat of chemical weapons usage has been eliminated and for the time being, the possibility of the world being drawn into armed conflict there averted.  Newswire

Israel/Palestine talks limp on and things look bad as Palestinian negotiators resign in face of announced additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but Palestinian President Abbas vows the talks will continue with this team or a new one.   Reuters

Congolese Rebels M23 call for a cease fire and negotiations continue in neighboring Uganda.  Again, it’s not a panacea and the motive for the cease-fire probably has as much to do with the recent military successes of the Congo government, but any reprieve to the level of violence in that nation is a good reprieve.   Yahoo 

Colmobian Government and FARC reach a partial accord with on-going talks on the horizon, making the possibility of an end to the world’s longest running civil war a real possibility for the first time in my lifetime.  Bouvier

Iran & Nuclear Capabilities are on the table, with Iran and the United States engaging in direct talks of this kind (which included a phone call between the two nations’ presidents) for the first time since the hostage takings in 1979.  The talks have stalled as parties with multiple and varying interests jockey for position, but it is crucial that we not miss the point that we are talking!  And there is hope.  Reaves

What are good ordinary people to do?  We have no power, no decision-making authority, we people who are not government or private industry leaders.  What can we possibly do?

There are lots of political possibilities, but for now, I leave those to the wiser in such things.

For now, I am focusing on the spiritual dimension to these challenges and I am setting myself to praying . . . specifically . . . continuously . . . concretely . . . for the peaceable kingdom God intends for the world to come into fruition . . . and my prayer goes something like this . . .
God of All Good Who Wills All Good . . . step closer in, I pray . . . keep us no more at arms’ length . . . embrace us like a parent protecting a small child from itself . . . hold us tight into Your love . . . Your ways . . . in this moment of wondrous possibility, open our eyes to Your dreams, Your vision . . . implant Your heart within each and all of us so firmly that we can imagine no other course save Yours . . . still our warring madness . . . help us move from self interest to universal care and concern and action . . . plug our ears against defeatism and the notion that war is the only way . . . unpack our imagination to the large possibilities of Your peace . . . for those who sit down at table together, knit the moments of humor and trust and empathy into a tapestry in which peace holds at the center of all . . . bless the baby steps we make towards peace into something even we could not have imagined . . . unite us around the world in the call to pray, seeking Your wisdom, Your will, Your ways.  Help us all to be brave and do the hard thing of not hitting back.  Help the negotiators to ignore the distraction of those who would subvert their work.  Love us all into Your peace.  Amen.

I wonder what God will do in these hearts, including my own.

Won’t you too join in praying for possibilities we never imagined?


__________________
*'lectionary' refers to a 3-year cycle of readings from the Bible in the Christian tradition.  This Sunday's readings include the passage above from Isaiah.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, Beth, what a thoughtful, beautiful prayer. As the Christ Spirit of the holy season descends upon us, may the signs of peace as you outlined above continue to grow into fruition. Many of us will join you in your prayer, and continue to pray until there is indeed "peace on earth".

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