The wolf shall live with the lamb. the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion together, and a little child shall lead them….They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.      (Isaiah 11: 6, 9)

I have always appreciated the paintings by Edward Hicks, a Quaker artist working in the 1820s and 1830s. One of his favorite subjects was The Peaceable Kingdom in which he utilizes the idyllic images from this passage in Isaiah.  Natural enemies in the animal realm gathering together, laying down with one another in a beautiful scene of harmony.   Hicks painted several different versions of this theme with people in the background engaging in peacemaking activities. These paintings, of course, are an idealized image. They draw us in so that we are calmed and inspired by these natural enemies living together.  A child even has his hands around the neck of a lion or reaches out to pet a big cat!

God is inviting us to live into and help to bring about the peaceable kingdom. Forgive someone. Learn to control your irritability.  Give a donation to the church.  Volunteer your time in the new year to do something to help others in need.  Do a random act of kindness and senseless beauty.

God of beauty and harmony, inspire me today to become a peacemaker.  Amen.  Rev. Dr.J