Second Sunday in Advent | Isaiah 11:1-10
…The wolf also shall lie down with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them…They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
The words are famous. It is strange how some words affect us, stay with us. Sometimes we have heard words so often that we are unable to hear them any longer because we are sure we know what they mean.
Take the messianic image in verse 4: with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Most of us hear these words and we think of overwhelming power. Yet the prophet is telling us about the power of words themselves, power in the breath of God, in a whisper.
Jesus did not live up to expectations. He taught, he touched, he brought healing to sick people, and he only occasionally became angry. The kingdom of God was ushered in with quiet words and humble grace. No lightning, no hellfire.
I want to change things directly by the use of power. Like most of us, I wish I had more power to apply to the world around me. Yet, the imposition of power only reinforces its object, hardens it, like steel in a forge or diamonds under the crushing weight of the earth.
God waits, watching the world change little by little by the choices of single souls. It is like the power of water to carve rocks, fluid and seemingly soft and ultimately irresistible.
When we want change, the world tells us to scream and to shove, to force our will on those around us.
God does not scream. God is whispering.
This season why not try the way of greater power: a quiet word, a gentle response. We may find that we are acting with the power of God.