What, exactly does peace look like? Is peace merely the absence of violence? If so, then we could instigate peace by taking the tentative step of stricter gun control or the bold step of nuclear disarmament. We know, however, that peace is far more than the absence of violence, so while gun control and nuclear disarmament might be worthy accomplishments, they don’t (in themselves) represent peace. Jesus promised us peace (John 14:27), but then said we wouldn’t recognize it among worldly definitions, especially if we identified peace only as an absence of violence.
But neither is peace idleness. Isaiah is very specific about all the things we will do in the midst of our peaceful lives [in God’s new creation]: build homes, plant vineyards, raise children, live long. Peace, it seems, is very specific for the one inhabiting it, but perhaps it is best captured in the words, “my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
My father is a gardener, farmer, and sometimes carpenter; my mother is a quilter, embroiderer, and sometimes cook. The work of their hands produces tangible results for them and those they love, but interestingly their longtime enjoyment of these accomplishments has nothing to do with the drudgery of work. In their peacefulness, manifest through their tangible experience of retirement, they have time to “enjoy the work of their hands.” The peace envisioned by Isaiah is free of all forms of violence, but more than that, it also involves creating time and space in which to do the things that bring us great joy. It is a time when God’s character will be reflected in all nature’s being completely at peace with itself. Isaiah’s beautiful vision of peace, of the New Jerusalem, puts all things in perspective.
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC