Read Isaiah 11:1-10.
What would it take for a wolf to live with the lamb? For the leopard to lie down with the young goat? For one, the wolf and the leopard would all have to change their very nature. They would have to turn away from their predatory inclinations. No longer could they satiate themselves on the vulnerability of the weak, but instead find nourishment elsewhere. However, that is not the only change necessary for this vision of peace and reconciliation to be fulfilled. The lamb and the young goat would have to forgive years of evolutionary and instinctual memory of the violence they have suffered as prey. Though these memories may have once served them during the previous years of injury and trauma, peace also requires the victim to work through that injury and trauma.
It can be hard, perhaps impossible, to ask for a person who has experienced trauma to heal and forgive. What is the guarantee that the wolf will not turn on the lamb again, or the promise the leopard will not once again show its spots? Yet it is this lingering, haunting fear that prevents them from feeling at peace.
Only when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the justice of the Lord, only when the spirit of wisdom, understanding, righteousness, and equity are made tangible and real, may there be reassurance of safety and the guarantee of peace. May it be so.
Lord, may your justice and mercy reign. May we know peace, true peace, your peace. May we recover from our injuries, heal from our traumas, turn away from our iniquities, and experience your loving mercy. Amen.
Campus Minister, UKirk ETSU
Editor’s Note: Check out our Sunday Companion Guide for some more context on this Scripture reading, discussion questions prompted by the reflection, and Advent candle lighting liturgies inspired by this year’s Where We’re From theme.