Advent Blog 2

PASTOR CLAY SCHMIT

In Advent we have a story from the prophet Isaiah who paints a lovely vision of the future. It will be, he says, a time when the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the sheep, the bears will eat hay alongside the cows, and a small child shall be in charge of everything. This has been known as the Peaceable Kingdom and it certainly is a lovely vision. This is supposed to take place, Isaiah says, when a perfect ruler will come to lead Israel. He will rule with justice and truth and his goodness will be so captivating that even the animals will live in peace, along with all the people.

The problem is that Isaiah has what we might call a vision problem. He is seeing something that is not there, and that has never been, and that never will be. Woody Allen once said, “Sure, the lion and the lamb may lie down together, but the lamb is not going to get much sleep.” Isaiah hoped for a king, a ruler, a human leader that would change everything. His problem is that he put his trust in something that was bound to fail. No such leader ever emerged—and no such leader has emerged anywhere in the history of the world. Isaiah was hoping for a great man to rise up. He put his hope in the wrong place.

A Lutheran pastor had a daughter that was about to go into the ministry, so he decided to write down some bits of advice and wisdom for her from his own experience. My favorite of his suggestions is this: Do the perfect thing—make some mistakes. He explained that it is important for the congregation to realize that you are not perfect. You are human and fallible like they are. This teaches them that there is only One in whom they can place their complete trust, the Lord Jesus Christ.

With the elections coming at us again next year, we may be inclined to do like Isaiah did: to place our confidence in the election of a great and righteous leader. But, at some level, we know that would be futile. None of the candidates we have seen—or could even imagine—can come close to promising us a peaceable nation. It will be foolish to place our trust in any human leader. They can only do so much—and they cannot create a utopia, no matter how much we might long for or pray for it.

Advent reminds us that there is only One in whom we can put our full trust. There will be no Peaceable Kingdom until he returns to take us home to be with him.

Kids sometimes ask whether their pets will go to heaven. Well, I am not in charge of that department, but it seems that if they do, the dogs will not chase the cats and the mice won’t be afraid of being eaten. We have to wait for the Peaceable Kingdom, but we can pray that Isaiah’s vision may one day come true in the reign of Christ our Lord. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Pastor Clay Schmit
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