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plowshare pruning hooksLife Journal // 006

Isaiah 2.1-4: This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

This is a picture of the future as God sees it (and therefore as it will be), and it is a future we are called to begin in the present. Isaiah 2.1-4 was one of the most consistently used passages in the early church’s attempts to teach new converts about the faith and make disciples out of them (catechism). It should play a similarly central role in how we understand our calling. We are the people of God’s future, a preview of things to come, a sign and foretaste of God’s heavenly kingdom come to earth. The point is not just “going to heaven when we die” but rather “bringing heaven to earth” in the form of a transformed community that lives according to a different story, with different allegiances and ideals, than the communities of our world. God will heal the world, and we are called to be the advance guard of that great healing operation. And this very well may cost us dearly. May we have ears to hear.

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