Isaiah 11:1–10, Isaiah 2:2–4, Jeremiah 8:14–15 (click to read online)
Humanity has been killing humanity since Cain and Abel. It is nothing new. There was some idealistic optimism, not shared by all, that World War I would be the war to end war. Instead, it saw the first widespread use of machine guns and then planes, tanks, chemical warfare. It wasn’t the end of all wars. In fact, as many wars do, it was the root cause of the next one, with Germany’s rise of the Nazis and World War II. The Treaty of Versailles (to end World War I) was meant to formally end the war (not just stop the fighting). People trying to teach others a lesson, and out of their own pain, imposed severe penalties on the German nation. The consequences of that created the kind of space where Adolf Hitler could rise and send the world to war again.
Someone once wrote, “veterans are those who signed a blank check to the US Government, promising everything up to death.” Many have paid that “full” price, along with their families. Others continue to pay a different price of broken bodies, minds, and spirits. Truthfully, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that any person can do to repay their sacrifice. Many are quick to jump up and attack these people because of a perceived representation of the so-called military/industrial complex or the lunatic saber-rattling of deranged/mistaken leaders. They, the veterans, are no such thing. First and foremost they are people who surrendered themselves in support of something they saw greater than themselves. That is not something to dismiss or disparage. Ever. Second, just like everyone else, they have hopes, dreams. Third, they need our love.
The optimism of Isaiah’s vision is possible. Yes, they are. However, it is only when we take Jeremiah’s cautions that we can understand how this can happen. No, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. God comes first. We aren’t all there yet. In fact, most of us are further than we’d like to admit.
1) What is one thing you can do to take a step toward the visions of Isaiah?
2) What do you think of the phrase, peace starts at home? Is your home peaceful?
3) What is peace? Do you think your definition of peaces matches others’?