ADVENT: DAY 24
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"In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
2 and many nations shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lordfrom Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
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;
4 but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lordof hosts has spoken.
5 For all the peoples walk,
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever." --Micah 4:1-5
Yesterday I reflected upon fury as a righteous response to mass injustice. Jesus expressed righteous fury, as have many throughout history and today who have been subjected to systemic oppression. Individuals and entire movements have been called to this. This is indeed part of the peace process.
Today we see another prophet's vision of peace. This vision focuses on the two major sources of violence that kills: weapons and nationalism. The messianic figure being prophesied would inspire people to turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. The messianic figure would cause nations to stop using weapons against each other and to even stop "learning" war.
Micah is keenly aware of some significant truths. 1) Weapons are a problem and should cease to exist. 2) The resources used for weapons should instead be used for life-giving instruments. 3) National militaries are the major forces of destructive violence. 4) The enmity that causes war is learned.
Micah saw a Messiah who would stand against the destructive forces of weaponry and national militarism. This causes me to think of a Messiah who told his disciple to put away his knife even as he was arrested by the Empire. This causes me to think of a Messiah whose mission broke down nationalist boundaries. This causes me to think of a Messiah who cast out a Roman Legion as a demon.
This Messiah preached and lived the vision of Micah. This Messiah trusted us to continue that vision. Let's destroy the weapons that destroy lives and Creation. Let's take all of the resources from firearm production and sales and from the military industrial complex and use them to transform communities. Let's remove national flags (U.S. American AND Israeli) from our churches that claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Let's exorcise the demon of militarism and militarization from our city governments, our nations, and across this globe.
Enacting this vision would be the most authentic celebration of Advent I can imagine!