Today’s Readings: Numbers 16:1-19; Hebrews 13:7-17; Isaiah 11:1-9
The decision President Obama announced recently to dramatically increase the presence of US troops in Afghanistan has presented me with quite a challenge. On one hand, a part of me feels compelled to support a leader who has taken courage steps to address issues like the economic recovery of the country, global climate change, and health insurance reform. On the other hand, as a strong proponent of peace who strongly agrees with Albert Einstein’s statement that “You cannot prevent and prepare for war at the same time” - I feel compelled to question the decision to escalate our military presence.
So how do I reconcile these competing commitments?
Well, as of right now I’m doing two things. First, in response to those who would suggest peace is not a practical pursuit, I’m holding on tightly to the vision lifted up in today’s passage from Isaiah: “the wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the kid; calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them” (Isaiah 11:6 from The Message). That vision may not be practical by earthly standards – but it’s one I hold near and dear to my heart. Second, I’m working extremely hard to stay focused on what I’m FOR (i.e. “peace”) and not what I’m AGAINST (i.e. a particular policy). My hope is by focusing on the positive and not the negative that I’ll be able to embody the principles of peace – even when I’m in dialogue with those I disagree. After all, what would I gain if I – an advocate for peace – resorted to the use of verbal and/or spiritual violence against those with whom I disagree? In other words, I’m trying first and foremost to practice the values I would espouse for others.
So how does the radical vision lifted up for us in today’s passage from Isaiah inform your way of being in the world? Do you see the vision as naive rhetoric, or is it a vision you feel compelled to grow into? Til next time…