Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Peaceable Kingdom

THE PEACEABLE KINGDOM here is one of sixty versions that Edward Hicks painted in the 18th century. The idea for the painting is taken from Isaiah 11:1-10

This scripture is the first reading at Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent (Year A). We might read this text slowly and thoughtfully now and again, but at least during Advent to further root ourselves in the peaceable rule of God: to do no harm, to forgive wrongs, to hate no one (which means that I at least wish others well), to practice works of mercy, to give up so much judging of others, to de-militarize my heart.

On that day, a shoot shall appear 
from the stump of Jesse,
and from  his roots a bud shall blossom...

Then the wolf shall be the guest of the lamb,
   and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
   the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
   with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
   together their young shall rest;
   the lion shall eat hay like the ox,
The baby shall play over the cobra's den,
   and the child shall put his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord,
   as water covers the sea.

Isaiah gives us an image of God's promised rule so pervasive that even the animals will get along nicely. The Garden of Eden restored! We might wonder what it will take for humans to seize this idea and make it come true? The text reminds me of the end of Saint Mark's Gospel (16:15) where Jesus says to the apostles: "Go out all over the world, and preach the gospel to the whole of creation".

Good news to all of creation! That means the animals, the plants, the soil, the air, the water, So yes, the environmental issues matter a great deal to Christians. It is said that in the future no religion will have a following unless it is religion that is protective of the environment - a green religion. 

This sensitivity is reflected in Albert Schweitzer's Prayer for Animals:

Hear our humble prayer, O God,
for our friends the animals, 
especially for animals who are suffering, 
for any that are hunted or lost or deserted 
or frightened or hungry; 
for all that must be put to death. 
We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity, 
and for those who deal with them we ask 
a heart of compassion 
and gentle hands and kindly words. 
Make us, ourselves to be true friends to animals
and so to share the blessings of the merciful. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Very good thoughts of peace and togetherness living in harmony on God's green Earth. Kindness shown to our own brothers, to animals and our planet. Amen.