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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tree of Jesse | Unknown
Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72: 1-8   
Luke 10:21-24

Scholars differ as to whether Isaiah 11 is a messianic prediction or whether it suggests a continuation of the Davidic dynasty.  Regardless, it is one of my favourite Advent readings, speaking to me of comfort and hope re-awakened for the future.  

Isaiah preaches hope in a time of oppression.  He uses the image of life emerging from death – a dead stump from which a branch of new life emerges.  And given the origin of this new life, from Jesse the father of David, Isaiah appears to link the future with the past (that is, Judah’s history with God).  He speaks of a dream of restoration – a bold dream for a world transformed and with humanity and creation living in balance with one another.  And it is all based on his great hope for a king who will govern with wisdom and bring peace.  This is a king who will be gifted with all the qualities that will enable him to inaugurate a kingdom of justice and peace.  He will not only have an intimate knowledge of God but be God-centric.

What makes these scriptures meaningful after more than 2000 Advents?    It is because the prophet in this chapter’s passage speaks of the promise of hope not only for Judah but for us all in challenging times.  And we are certainly in challenging times – post Covid pandemic, a war in Europe, unprecedented anger on the streets, uncertainty, and fear and anxiety in general.  I needed to hear these words of hope.  How about you?

Sandi Patterson