First Sunday of Advent 2019

1st December 2019  

Swords into ploughshares 

Isaiah 2.1-5

Isaiah’s vision today of ‘swords turned into ploughshares and spears turned into sickles’, and ‘no more training for war’ wouldn’t win many votes in a UK General Election. For sadly in these days the harsh notes of jingoism sound louder than the song of harmony.

Christian advocates for a peace-making economy are often labelled naïve or unrealistic. But is it really beyond our intelligence to shift from weapons production to building homes for the disabled, or cities where the roads are safe? Is it really physically impossible to move resources from nuclear testing to nursing training? Do we really lack the skills, the money or intelligence to do this?

By the grace of God the scriptures give us a different vision, one that sets us free from current fashions, and helps heal the world.

But the vision sits uneasily with a rather troubling gospel today with its dire warnings about the end of the world & how unpredictable it will all be. A scary glimpse of what might be the consequence of total war or climate change! 

But there is light in the gloom, because the surprise ‘coming of the Son of Man’ can be heard as a sign of hope rather than a threat. Jesus comes into our lives each day unpredictably with surprising opportunities  ... people to support ... truths to speak ....  deeds of forgiveness to do ... falsehoods to confront ... and acts of witness with others.  Advent helps us be ready to hear those calls.

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