Messiah News

Straw Steak

Welcome to Advent, a season of four Sundays before Christmas. Historically Advent has been considered a time of quiet, prayerful preparation for the coming of our Lord. In reality our 'Black Friday,' 'Giving Tuesday,' 'Grateful Thursday' and on and on doesn't allow this to happen unless we work at it - but we try. This year Pr. Tom and I have decided to preach on our Old Testament lessons from the prophet Isaiah with the themes of "Wake up to Peace," "Wake up to Harmony, and then Joy and Promise . . ." We're having a good time with it.

I forgot to write you last weekend before our Advent 1 worship November 27. More truthfully, perhaps, I was having problems with my sermon and didn't know what I was going to say yet. 

This statue is part of the United Nations Art Collection. It's called, "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares," a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich. I very much appreciate the muscle definition and sweat in this piece. Because, indeed, beating our swords into plowshares - whether you think of this in literal, metaphorical, personal or global terms is just plain work! My emphasis last week was more on the invitation to "wake up to" than Peace itself, but I wanted to share this image with you today nonetheless. Whether you wish to think of your work in forging peace, or God's, it is a reality that only comes with a cost.

This Sunday, December 4, is Advent 2. In our Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah 11 we read about Harmony, a specific dimension of Peace. Many of us know the words "The lion shall lie down with the lamb." I couldn't find any paintings of this from old masters, but I'm pretty sure they exist. This is a modern day painting from an art teacher named Misty Frederick-Ritz. I don't know her, but i like her painting.

If I try to channel my 'inner lion' I find a certain swagger and confidence there. I am a person of power. Respect it due. I'm the 'king of the jungle' and all of that you know! This comes easily to me as a 21st century white male of means. My privilege and sense of personal entitlement don't seem aggressive to me. Just my right. (Yes, I have much to learn here!!) Isaiah says that my inner-lion is now suppose to give up ribeye steak for straw. (Climate Change activists tell me the same thing, just sayin'!) Harmony is only achieved by sacrifice for the lion. I get it, we're all better off in the long run, but frankly I feel like I'm taking a hit here.

If I channel my 'inner lamb' everything is different. First of all any sense of frailness, humility or 'at riskness' is much harder for me to find. That's just a personal truth. As a lamb I'm not called to change my diet. What is required of me is trust. So, I hear the lion say he's reformed now, only eating straw, and that he's not going to eat me . . . but really? I mean, we're talking Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football here - only it's my life, not a cartoon. This promise has never worked out well in the past. 

Well, as you get ready for worship Sunday I invite you into prayer and meditation with your inner lion and lamb. They'll each have something different to offer you. They are predator and prey, power player and victim, and the privileged and at risk. Undoubtedly we are all both as well. Eavesdrop in on their conversation if you dare.

As for the sermon Sunday, my goal is to talk about the path of inner harmony, what God offers us and how we can practice it. See you then!

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

Font size: +

Subscribe to Messiah News Feed