Advent Week Two: “Exchanging Harm for Peace”
Weekly Supply List:
- Journal or sketch pad
- Pen, pencil, or markers
- Your imagination
- 5-10 minutes a day
- Advent wreath, optional
Weekly Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 (Good News Translation)
1 The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David’s descendants. 2 The spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom and the knowledge and skill to rule his people. He will know the Lord’s will and honor him, 3 and find pleasure in obeying him. He will not judge by appearance or hearsay; 4 he will judge the poor fairly and defend the rights of the helpless. At his command the people will be punished, and evil persons will die. 5 He will rule his people with justice and integrity. 6 Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them. 7 Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do. 8 Even a baby will not be harmed if it plays near a poisonous snake. 9 On Zion, God’s sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water. 10 A day is coming when the new king from the royal line of David will be a symbol to the nations. They will gather in his royal city and give him honor.
Invitation: Get some supplies–a journal or piece of paper and something to draw with (a pen, pencil, marker–anything!) Find a comfy seat and have one person read Isaiah 11:1-10, written above, out loud and slowly.
Reflection: Isaiah gives us a strange picture: a cut down tree with new branches growing out of a stump. Can you draw a picture of that?
Contemplation: How does that picture of a cut down tree make you feel? What do you think it means that new branches are growing out of the stump?
Discussion: Often, when it looks like something is over, God is actually doing something new. When we have to say “goodbye” to something, it’s often an invitation from God to say “hello” to something else. Isaiah is telling God’s people that even though it might look like the royal line of kings is cut down, a new and good King is going to grow up.
Is there something ending, that you have to say “goodbye” to in your life? Can you also see something new that you might say “hello” to?
Prayer Exchange: Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold your hands out open in front of you, palms up. This is like telling God, “I will give what you take away, and I will receive what you give.” Stay like this while you or someone else prays:
Creator God, you cause new life to grow from things that are dead. I give you those things that I have to say “goodbye” to old things in my life so that I might say “hello” to new things you want to give me. Help me trust in your power to bring life out of death, and in your goodness to me. Amen.
Contributed by Rodger Otero, Associate Pastor