Saturday of the second week of Advent
All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
The New Revised Standard Version we use in worship betrays the meaning of the word ‘shalom’ in its translation of this verse. It says: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children.” Yes, the passage speaks of the restoration of Jerusalem. And yes, the passage exults in the majesty of the restored city: “I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones.” It is language that is taken up in the description of the New Jerusalem. But the point isn’t material prosperity. The point is shalom, life in all its goodness, life made whole,
It is a life where women need not fear abuse, where children do not go hungry, where the sick do not go untended. It is a world where gates bar no windows and padlocks guard no doors. It is a world where no one scams the elderly or abandons them to loneliness. It is a world where the rains come in their time and the winter snowpack glistens in the sun. It is a world where “there will be no poor among you… if only you will obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment which I command you this day.” (RSV)
It is a world where the voice of eternal compassion and faithfulness guides all our children – and great will be their peace.
Eternal God, Breath of Life,
Font of Hope, and our Eternal Joy;
Open the doors of our hearts, and the gates of your mercy
to come into our world and our lives,
and grant us the peace of your kingdom.
— The prayer for Week 2: A doorway to peace