the leopard will lie down with the young goat.
The calf and the lion will graze together,
and a little child will lead them.
When I think of Isaiah 11:6, I’m struck that the radical images of reconciliation and peace are meant to astound us. This is not a picture of a random, innocuous moment of contact between enemies. This is a picture of sustained life together. Could reconciliation and consequent vulnerability this radical be possible?
Yet this year has definitely challenged all of us, myself included, around the globe in how we protect ourselves... from what, and from whom. Fear of the unknown, and distrust and frustration with others have dominated both news cycles and conversations.
It begs the question again. Is it truly possible that I can lay down my protective layers in order to embrace the much better shalom of Jesus? Could I really be safer by laying down my own shortsighted ways of protecting myself, my barriers and my own masks, and live out the extraordinary gift of redemption and reconciliation I have with Him?
Will I not be so much safer allowing Him to bring peace His way?
Looking into the Gospel narratives, a reader can find that God’s way was to put Himself into the most vulnerable place possible, entering into human poverty and want, and entering this too in the most vulnerable position possible, as a tiny, dependent infant. And this? ...THIS... was the beginning of the most unbelievable movement of Shalom reconciliation that ever existed on earth.
Am I safer in the Shalom of Jesus, open and vulnerable before others? Yes, because I have been redeemed and so strongly embraced by Emmanuel, God with Us. The Gospel message proclaims that it is possible to enter His Shalom, a Shalom that allows wolves and lambs to be at peace, to live daily with one another, all because Jesus came into a world that did not know Him, to pay for the sins of those who did not esteem or even care a whit about Him, to bring many people into the deep Shalom of intimate relationship with God.
It’s a radical thought.