a beautiful branch – wisdom for life

We have these amazing texts preserved and handed down to us in the prophet Isaiah. Beautiful texts that speak about the transformation of our world. Beautiful texts that remind us of what we are waiting for. We are waiting for God to come in judgment and grace to his people, a waiting that infuses every moment of our lives. Last week we explored one of these texts – one of these songs.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Ain’t gonna study war no more.

This is huge, world–transformative stuff. It’s about politics, and about the life of nations, and it’s about the possibilities for peace in the world – it’s about what happens when the kingdom of God comes in all its glory.

This week we get more of the same as we turn to Isaiah chapter 11. This week we read these astonishing words:

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together;
and a little child shall lead them.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain. Continue reading

are you ready?

We begin this morning with something a little bit different. We’re actually going to begin this morning with a short video. That’s unusual in itself. But it’s going to be particularly unusual, because the short video clip I want to show is actually from a workout video, a kind of exercise video, produced by the New York City Ballet. The clip I’ll show is one selection from a series of short videos intended for dancers or non-dancers who want to use the techniques and movements of ballet for exercise and muscle strengthening. What’s interesting about this video, for our purposes, is the insight the video gives into the discipline, the training and the preparations of professional dancers.

Now I should say this morning that I’ve only been to the ballet a few times in my life. I have some vague childhood memory of seeing the nutcracker. And then in our twelve years here in Montreal, Becky and I have been to see a couple of performances of Les Grand Ballet Canadiens. I should also say that this somewhat limited experience with ballet, isn’t because I’m not interested in ballet, or because I find it boring. I guess you have to chalk it up to a lack of time to do all the things I might enjoy. In any case, this morning we are all going to have something of an encounter with ballet, perhaps a peculiar encounter, as we begin with this short video.

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