Tuesday, December 2, 2014

If It Delays . . .

From today's reading from Isaiah:
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.
For some reason that image of the knowledge of the Lord filling the earth as water covering the sea  really struck me this morning. When water covers something, there is no escape, it flows into every little nook and cranny, slipping under the doors, finding the tiniest cracks. It reminds me of a dream I had once in which I was in a city that was flooded up to about my waist, but there wasn't any sense of there being anything wrong. The water was very clear and full of light, and calm. At first, when I read the verse it evoked a very peaceful scene like the one in the dream, but then again, water, like the knowledge of the Lord, can sometimes come in violent ways.

I have always loved Edward Hicks's renditions of the Peaceable Kingdom. He was a Quaker who lived in Pennsylvania in the late 18th/early 19th century. I've read that he thought that America was the coming of the peaceable kingdom, and that the treaty between William Penn and the Indians was a beginning of that kingdom. 

Hicks painted that scene over and over again. Here are a few more versions.

I'm not sure what to make of this guy.

Even his pictures of life in Pennsylvania reflected his belief that the kingdom was making itself known.

Unfortunately, Hicks was wrong. The kingdom did not arrive with the advent of the new land, except in the hearts of those who had already received it. And we are still waiting, entering into that season when we wait in joyful hope.
For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. Habakkuk 2:3


  1. These are beautiful. Is it just me, or is there something reminiscent of William Blake about them?


    1. When I read this comment in my inbox, I couldn't figure out what "these" were for a minute.