Some years ago Patty and I walked through Stanley Park and marveled at the “Forest” growth. Occasionally we would walk upon large felled trees. Some lie on the ground as a result of age, others had been struck by lightning and still others may have succumbed to disease. Growing up in Oklahoma we seldom saw trees so large. Some of these trees had been cut to clear an easier path to walk. Stumps could be seen randomly throughout the park.
Out of some of these stumps grew new growth. What appeared to be dead possessed life enough to produce s small shoot.
Each summer when I use the grass trimmer (weedeater) to clean next to our loafing shed I inevitably must hack down foliage growing from small shrubs and trees that had been cut leaving stumps.
The chances of a formidable tree growing up from a stump are slim. Yet, the prophet Isaiah ends chapter ten with the picture of the felling of a forest. Images of tall cedars would evoke thoughts of power and might. The notion of their demise would signal defeat and weakness.
Chapter 11 opens with the remarkable vision of a peace bringing shoot growing up from a stump. Unlikely yet hope-filled. Images of lions and lambs co-habiting in peace would certainly speak to a new day.
Peter Rollins writes of life in the aftermath of God in his book, <u>How [Not] to Speak of God</u>. I could not help but recall this description when thinking of Jesus coming in the aftermath of the justice of God. Expectations would never turn to an unlikely girl, a young man embarrassed at the pregnancy of his betrothed and a small town considered least among other places to call home. Yet, in the aftermath of silence God speaks.
Angels declare, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among people.” This announcement alerted the world to God in the aftermath of silence. Peace marks a distinct way relationships would now be marked. The coming of Jesus would bring peace without and within.
Now we find ourselves living in the way of Jesus. Unlikely. Improbable. And at the same time invigorated at the possibilities of joining God in the work of bringing peace to the world – peace among people, peace among neighbors, peace among ethnic enemies, peace among conflicted nations, peace with God.
All of this coming out of a sprouting stump.