My ears reveled in these words yesterday:
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 anymore.
These are words of Advent — words I have heard innumerable times. But in the context of the days we are living, I heard them differently. As they were read aloud yesterday, I heard them in an embodied way. I sat taller, leaned in, and smiled an empowered, subversive smile.
These days, we are working for peace. Peace is always life-giving, but it is rarely placid. It involves demands for justice. It invites our work, even as we wait for its fullness.
The season of Advent summons us to wait for the fulfillment of God’s vision. But this is no passive form of waiting. The holy future is before us, yet it turns to include the present. We see it ahead of us, and captured by the vision, we begin to participate in that very vision coming into being.
During the season of Advent, our actions are summoned toward peace. Or to put the scriptures above in conversation with our current context,
True peace is not merely the absence of tension;
it is the presence of justice.
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The scripture texts above are Isaiah 2:4 and Matthew 24:42a.
I took the photo above during a Vigil at the University of Michigan on November 9, the evening after Election Day. More than 1,000 students were present.