Friday, December 10

Rev. Bruce Modahl

He shall judge between the Nations, 
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

Usually, I listen to podcasts to help me fall asleep. One 2 a.m. morning, I scrambled for pen and paper when I heard the host say, “The gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’ is the definition of hope.”

The gap not only defines hope, but our hope is also born in this gap. It is not just the gap between peace and war. It is the gap between Jesus’ death and resurrection and his coming again. With that in mind, I propose an amendment to the host’s definition. I say, “The gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what will be’ is the definition of hope.

Every weekend in my hometown we hear the toll of shootings and deaths. Every weekend a group of mothers gathers on a street corner to fast and pray for an end to gun violence. They know what will be. They know their prayers are not in vain.

Every day countless arbiters seek reconciliation among those who are odds with one another. Some will come to see their efforts as hopeless. Others will persist because they know that in Christ we all are reconciled to God and to one another.

Stroll by means of Google search through the sculpture garden at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. You will see contemporary representations of Isaiah 2:4. In 1988 Luxembourg gave to the UN a sculpture of a Colt Python 357 magnum revolver with its barrel tied in a knot. The gun is cocked, but it will never fire.

In 1990 the Soviet Union donated a sculpture of St. George slaying the dragon. It is a familiar image. What is surprising is the body of the dragon is made from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing nuclear missiles.

Heavenly Father, by your Spirit you kindle hope in our hearts, showing us what will be when Christ comes again. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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