And their spears into pruning hooks:
Nation shall not take up
Sword against nation;
They shall never again know war.”
The words of Isaiah are on the wall in front of the United Nations in NYC, in the Peace Park dedicated to modern prophets - activists and peacemakers -African American leaders such as Ralph Bunche and Bayard Rustin and Jewish-Soviet resistance dissident Natan Sharansky. It’s a park that serves as hotspot for demonstrations for justice - a reminder of aspiration, a place which is a poetic plea.
2,800 years after this poet walked the streets of Jerusalem railing against the greed and injustice, how much has changed?
Isaiah spoke up against the growing gaps between the rich and poor, the oppression of the lower classes by the higher classes, the idolatry that was about centering human instead of justice, each other, the earth.
What are we not listening to today? Who are the prophets and poets whose powerful messages we tune out?
Can this reminder help us - individually and collectively - resolve to take on one more step towards repair - and hope?
Welcome to Isaiah. We’ll be traveling with him for the next 2 months, leading into Elul- the month of reflection and renewal into the new year.
Let’s find out what he has to teach us.
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Isaiah, still preaching, live in NYC