Prophets are a curious topic for us in the 21st Century because we live skeptical lives bombarded by way too much information, which is subject to microscopic scrutiny. However, in the Bible prophets and prophecy were commonplace especially among the four major prophets of the Bible who are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Most people have at least heard of Isaiah, a great and profound prophet who was the son of another prophet whose name was Amoz. We think of prophets as being sent to us by God to give us direction about what is right and wrong. But prophets are also an effective means of telling us how God feels about us, though we don’t always listen very well. In today’s children’s version, which I hope the kids are learning, it reads:
Isaiah the prophet woke up worrying about the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. The Assyrian army was heading in their direction (and) the people were frightened! They wondered what would happen when the army arrived and if they could keep their homeland. Isaiah had been telling the people how God was feeling about them and all that they were doing. Isaiah wanted to tell them about God’s hope for them and the good things God wanted for all people. The message was all about the best ideas people could have about God and God’s hope for all. Isaiah told about future days when the holy mountain of God would be the highest and the best mountain forever. All nations would see it and come ‘streaming in.’ Isaiah dreamed the people would live in peace. The countries would take their weapons and melt them and then make good tools for gardening and making things grow, (bringing peace to the land.”)
Peace. What a word, filled with hopeful connotation and history! Do you have an image in your mind of what peace looks like? Maybe peace is a tranquil lake that you sit beside. If you are a parent of young children, perhaps peace is that small moment when you finally sit in a chair quietly with a book or lie down on the bed at night to find no one needs anything! That’s a lovely feeling. Aahhh! Breathe in and breathe out peace - today’s entire service is brought to you by the power and meaning of peace. What is it? Who has it? What can we do with it? What is peace good for?
The other day I met someone who grew up in a household of 13 kids! I thought being one of 8 was a lot. Theirs was a house never at peace, unless everyone was asleep, because there was always something loud or some commotion happening. Every night at dinner, someone spilled a glass of milk all over the table. There were never enough bathrooms to accommodate everyone’s privacy so there was usually some hollering going on about that. If every child in the family brought home just one friend after school to play that meant there would be 26 kids running around! Think of the sheer amount of noise 26 kids would cause and the number of people bumping up against each other.