This week’s lectionary reading from the Old Testament is Isaiah 11, often referred to as a description of the “peaceable kingdom.” When I was in seminary, I wrote a contemporary version for my OT class. Here it is:
1 Seeds shall sprout from a camp in Maine,
and branches shall grow from South Africa.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on them,
the spirit of respect and understanding,
the spirit of equality and justice,
the spirit of hope and reconciliation.
3 Their delight shall be in welcoming each other.
They shall not judge by the color of skin,
or decide by what language they hear;
4 but with kindness they shall judge the individual,
and decide with compassion for the oppressed of the earth;
they shall strike hatred with the words of love,
and with the breath of their lips shall speak of peace.
5 Kindness shall be the mantle on which they lay,
and compassion the mantle that covers them.
6 The Palestinians shall eat with the Israelis,
the Hutus shall dance with the Tutsis,
the black and the white and the brown together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The indigenous and immigrant shall meet,
their young shall work together;
and the stranger shall be welcomed as a neighbor.
8 The babies shall play across borders,
and the children shall grow without fear.
9 They will not hurt or destroy
on all God’s holy earth;
for the earth will be full of the love for all people
as the waters cover the sea.