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"Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,"…
…they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
"War is a failure of international imagination" said Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, commenting on the declaration of war on Iraq in May 2003.
This Advent may we exercise our imaginations with Isaiah and imagine a world without war and the actions we might take to enable that!
If we are to beat our swords into ploughs, it struck me that we talk about peace with "justice". Acts of justice and mercy bring peace; not simply the "absence of war".
So, let us imagine a just, merciful world. And may our imaginations be strengthened by sharing them, by listening to them (even Isaiah's imagination) and by talking of them.
Brueggemann (1) writes on page 24: "The anticipatory aspects of the Isaiah tradition are not unlike Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. This tradition has an anticipation for the future rooted in the deeper resolve of Yahweh, a future not yet seeded in historical circumstance. The poet imagines a smaller, burnt, purified Jerusalem, with a wholly new future."