Taste and See: War over? Warring over?

end-to-warThe vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come
the mountain of the Temple of the Lord
shall tower above the mountains
and be lifted higher than the hills.
All the nations will stream to it,
peoples without number will come to it; and they will say:

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Temple of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths;
since the Law will go out from Zion,
and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.’

He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.

O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 2:1-5

The prophesy of Isiaiah invites us to a new way of being, united, with common purpose and leaving behind the passions and fears that lead to war, and that lead to what is – from the Kingdom’s perspective – the obscenity of training for war.

The steps to war and the attitudes that lead to the possibility of war-making start small in the decisions and actions of our daily lives. There builds up a swamp of resentment and anger, frustration and prejudice, ignorance and greed; and from that emerges the beasts of aggression and unreason.

  • How today might you do a little housekeeping on your inner sturm und drang? Making the most of your positive desires for the Kingdom to disarm your more negative feelings
  • Celebrate Advent by opening a door that leads to peace.

Sculpture. Park Arts Muzeon, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Taste and See: The bitterness of war

Rouault Miserere

Today’s post comes in the wake of the most recent savagery towards a hostage taken by the terrorists in Syria, and is put up mindful of the violence in Ukraine and Somalia and Iraq and so many places, and the threat of violence in so many more.

Two things came to mind, one the alternative communion antiphon from Sunday’s Mass.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 5: 9-10

How simple the words, how challenging their invitation.

The other thing which came to mind was a haunting photograph of a young boy, Ali Abbas, who was horribly injured in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At that time it associated itself in my mind with the picture, Miserere, by Rouault which heads this post.

Ali Ismail Abbas_reuters

The image of the boy has been an abiding symbol of the horror of war since then and the association of that image of him with the image of Christ has remained too.

The wounded and worse are countless. We are invited to associate ourselves with the One who died to set us free from sin and the power of sin over us.