10 Here is the Lord God,
coming with strength,
with a triumphant arm,
bringing his reward with him
and his payment before him.
11 Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock;
he will gather lambs in his arms
and lift them onto his lap.
He will gently guide the nursing ewes.
These two verses come at the end of a chapter which begins with the words “Comfort, comfort my people! says your God.” We welcome the Lord God who is both like a victorious warrior, with a “triumphant arm,” and a gentle Shepherd caring for lambs. I wonder which of these images is the God that brings us comfort and which do we choose to follow?
The peacemaker in me wants to be guided by the shepherd who cares for the lambs and their nursing mothers. The justice warrior in me side of me wants to follow the conquering hero who has won the battle and gained the great reward. Isaiah places these two images side by side because our choice is not “either/or.” Our choice to follow Jesus must be “both/and.”
Our God fights for justice AND for peace.
The way of our Christ is peace WITH justice for all.
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
You have probably heard the saying “You can’t have your cake AND eat it, too.” Living in the kin-dom of God means that absolutely IS possible. “Here is the Lord God. … with a triumphant arm …. Shepherding the flock….” It’s not just possible, but it’s God’s intention that everyone has everything they need: peace AND justice; with adequate food, clothing, housing, healthcare, education, employment and love so that all of humanity lives as God intends, in a world that is environmentally secure for all of God’s creation. There’s plenty for everyone in God’s abundant world.
Meditate on these words from the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….”