Year A - Advent 2 - Needed Change 2
December 8, 2013
“From Abraham to David, God’s promise was focused on the Land. After David, they thought that a better king could not be found: they only hoped that their present and future kings would imitate David, whose dynasty by God’s promise would be continuous (2 Sam 7:14). Isaiah is the first to announce the Messiah, a future king who would surpass even David.” [The New Community Bible note.]
“He will judge the needy with righteousness : The needy and poor (those who suffer) are the same two groups described in Isaiah 10:2 as being exploited by those responsible for the law. rod of his mouth: Unlike the foreceful rod of the Assyrians in Isaiah 10:5, 15, 24, the rod of the Judean ruler is verbal, that is, just legislation on behalf of the needy and against those who are violent.” [The Common English Bible note.]
Evidence shows that leaders inevitably disappoint. One person cannot stand against the principalities and powers and any governing process. Appeals to our fears are always creeping in carrying the day for they trigger our earliest brain function of fight now or fight later (flight). To remain in power appears to require pandering to a fear that diminishes and divides us, one from another (the opposite of angelic announcement and experience of assurance).
The two clues given in these notes place greater emphasis upon caring for the Land (as basic grounding for any freedom—no health in the environment, no health in any other part of our life) and Just Legislation (communal wisdom that we are in life together and injustice in any one part of our commonwealth makes everyone and all together poorer).
Read this passage again:
From the stump of a degraded environment, a shoot will come forth; root and branch will grow and bear fruit. A blessed land brings a blessing of wisdom, counsel, and knowledge; of understanding, power, and reverence. These qualities will see mercy steadfastly available and not be fooled by appearances of piety covering meanness. These will decide for the benefit of the whole community (particularly for the part of the community so easily labeled and dismissed as “poor”). “Fertilizing” the poor will return creation to its basic interconnections of relationship. [Note: this does not mean that there will be no death—a calf will eat grass and be eaten; a lion will eat calves and their bones be picked by a crow as they return to grass.]
Here the magic answer is not Jesus, but Land and Just Legislation. This may sound much more mundane, but it does open a place for us to be in solidarity with one another and creation. Can you now unread this perspective? Hopefully it will continue to niggle at you until its importance comes clear.