Isaiah 2: 1-5

New Resources

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

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  • Living in Hope

    by Rian Adams
    I received an amazing letter a few months ago. A rift occurred between former parishioners and their son. When we met, their son had not spoken to them for ten years. They started sending Christmas cards. Everyone would write their favorite stories of previous times with him. They always said, “You’re loved.” One Christmas morning, there was a knock at the door. A 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy stood in front of their son and his wife. The little boy grabbed his grandmother by the neck and said, “It’s really good to meet you, grandma.” Peace is healing between families. Few things are as moving as lighting an advent candle of hope in your heart toward forgiveness and reconciliation for our family...
  • Advent 1A (2016)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his intriguing book, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David, Lawrence Write describes what led to what we sometimes call the “1973 Yom Kippur War.” “The illusion that led to Israel’s greatest military setback, and was the source of [Kosher] Satan’s disgrace, was the Bar-Lev line. It was one of the greatest defensive fortifications in military history...
  • Hope for the Long Haul

    by Kathy Donley
    In the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, there was a bakery owned by a man named Yankel. Yankel survived the Holocaust. He once said, “You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold, in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm,” he said. “Sitting next to me was an older Jew – this beloved elderly Jew - from my hometown I recognized, but I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him, to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, his neck. I begged him to hang on. All night long; I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat on to this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way. Finally, night passed, morning came, and the sun began to shine. There was some warmth in the cabin, and then I looked around the car to see some of the others in the car. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies, and all I could hear was a deathly silence. Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me… The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming somebody else…”...
  • Come On Up!

    by Jim Eaton
    The Snow Goose is the story of a hump-backed man with a hand shaped like a claw so hurt by the way others draw away that he himself retreats. He’s a painter and a photographer and a sailor; he buys a lighthouse and a salt marsh in England and there he lives alone, sailing the shore and caring for birds. His name is Philip Rhyader, but no one calls him that; to the villagers who whisper about the ogre out by the lighthouse, he’s “that odd looking chap” or simply “Rhyader”. But one day a girl from the fishing village comes to him, holding something: a wounded goose. She’s desperately afraid of the ogre by the lighthouse but she’s heard he has healing powers. So she goes to him, shows him the goose. Together, they work to splint the bird’s wing, together they nurse it back to health. Her name is Frith and one day, he hears something strange and wonderful. The goose is almost healed; she’s happy. And she calls him Philip. In the act of healing, Philip and Frith have become friends...
  • Stay Awake

    by Frank Fisher
    ("There's a wonderful story about a woman who was visiting a new church. She appreciated most of the service but the sermon seemed to go on forever....")
  • At Any Moment, We Could Be Meeting Jesus

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    You never overcome hatred with hate; you never overcome violence with violence; you never overcome killing with killing; it's only through love. That's the way Jesus teaches us. That was the message of Isaiah and it's the same message today. Perhaps you've heard in the news in the last couple of days a reminder about that terrible thing that took place in the summer of 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. You remember when the people at a small church had gathered together for an evening of Bible study and Dylann Roof comes into their midst, an outsider, but they welcomed him.
  • Beating Guns into Guitars

    by Danna Harman
    ("César López, a Colombian musician, turns seized weapons into instruments....")
  • Advent 1A (2007)

    by Ben Helmer
    ("An elderly woman lived in a drab apartment. The apartment was in a cold concrete block of flats, and the views out of the window were of a scrap yard....")
  • Advent 1A (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In the remarkable French film Joyeux Noel, we see a lyric vision for what the world could be if only the One made incarnate in the womb of Mary could indeed lead the way toward peace, toward shalom. The film is set in World War I and tells a true story. In World War I, trench warfare meant that soldiers from opposing sides were often in close proximity to one another...")
  • What Needs to Die So that Christ May Be Born In You?

    by Dawn Hutchings
    What needs to die in you to make room for the Christ child to be born anew? What needs to die in you so that you might become the bearers of compassion to the world? Are you ready to love your neighbours? Both Ibrahim and Fatima became regular volunteers at the help-center. Ibrahim was particularly good at helping Muslim women overcome the excesses of their Muslim fathers and brothers as they struggled to live together in the west. I remember one young Muslim woman who was reluctant to talk to an Imam until the day her father arranged a marriage for her. She was so desperate that she was willing to speak to an Imam in the hope that he might be able to convince her father to relent. Ibrahim wasn’t able to convince the young woman’s father. So, he and Fatima decided to break the golden rule of the Crisis Clinic and they took the young woman into their own home after her family threw her out. Ibrahim and Fatima work very heard to bring Islam into the 21st century. We will also have to work very hard to bring Christianity into the 21st century...
  • Coming

    by Edward Markquart
    ("A computer program says that the word 'come' occurs 1462 times in the Scriptures. More than a thousand times in the Old Testament and more than four hundred times in the New Testament. The single word 'come'...")
  • Sermon Starters (Advent 1A)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    This prophecy of peace through God’s law and justice gets surprising affirmation from Jordan B. Peterson, called by the New York Times, “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” In his book, Twelve Rules for Life, Peterson lays out 12 deceptively simple rules that are, in his words, “an antidote to chaos.” Without rules, life descends into chaos, which, he says, is exactly why our world is such a mess. So he proposes rules like this: “Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back,” “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping,” “Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World.” These rules are not as simple as they sound and there are problems with some of Peterson’s ideas from a Christian perspective. But the idea that rules make life better fits our text very well. Much simpler were the rules laid out in Robert Fulghum’s classic, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. Remember? “Don’t hit people, share your toys, put things back where you got them, play fair, clean up your own mess.” What would life be without such rules?
  • The Advent Vision

    by Jim McCrea
    An anonymous author once wrote, “Exotic fish stores report that sharks have become a popular aquarium fish. If sharks are caught and confined when they’re small, they grow only to a size proportionate to the aquarium. The limited environment determines their growth. Sharks can be six inches long and still be fully matured. Only when they’re free in the ocean can they grow to their normal length of eight feet. [Similarly] People need big dreams, expansive horizons, large challenges, stretching ambitions.” Without that, we can’t reach our full potential. What if we were to use this Advent season as a time to accept the challenge of believing that Isaiah’s dream can come true? And, more than that, what if we were to truly believe that each of us can play a role in transforming his vision into reality — even if, like those magnificent European cathedrals — the task proves to be one that will take generations. Let that transformation begin with us.
  • Of Swords and Plowshares (Isaiah)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Homer created a large oil painting that illustrates rather than preaches Isaiah's vision of a time when the tools of war are traded for tools of agriculture. The artist worked on the painting for several month after the war was over. Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated and the nation was working its way toward again being "united" states. Home places an anonymous veteran in an actual field. A Union Army jacket is discarded in the lower right corner along with a canteen. The jacket has been abandoned presumably because the heat of the day and the exertion of the work makes a jacket unnecessary. But it is also the truth that this farmer has abandoned his military occupation and returned to his farm - he has traded the battlefield for the wheatfield. Hence the title of the painting.
  • Walk in the Light of the Lord

    by Michael Phillips
    ("A man who built up a successful business in a small town wound up in the hospital. He called his two children to his bedside. 'I’m giving you each a dollar. Whatever you buy with your dollar must fill this room from corner to corner. The one who succeeds will run the company..." and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day)
  • Advent 1A (2010)

    by Amy Richter
    "Viktor Frankl, in his book Man's Search for Meaning, tells of his experiences as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. In helping other people survive that brutal and horrible experience, he said that one thing that made a difference for people's survival was hope for the future. He wrote: 'The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed..."
  • Let Us Go Up to the Mountain of the Lord

    by Charles Qualls
    A small part of Advent's good news is that we now have cause to live into our own roles within God's Christmas promises. Jim Morris was a high school baseball coach toiling away in a small Texas town. When he was far younger, he had once been drafted by the Chicago White Sox as a pitcher, but very quickly suffered a series of arm injuries and surgeries. In less than five years, his professional career was over. Morris had never progressed past the single-A minor league level. More than a decade passed. Now, in his mid-thirties, Morris was a physical science teacher who was coaching a good high school team. As he pushed his players to make the playoffs, they pushed him to give his own playing career one more try. They had noticed that his throwing arm was far stronger than any of theirs. They made a deal - a dare really - that if they progressed to the championship game, their coach would have to attend a local tryout camp given by one of the Major League teams. They did, so Morris did. Scouts were amazed at this player who had not pitched in eleven years, yet who threw harder than all but a few of the most elite Major Leaguers. At the age of 35, Jim Morris made his Major League debut after having long ago given up on his dream. All along, though, he had been putting in just the right work that eventually led him there...
  • All I Want for Christmas Is Peace

    by David Russell
    ("Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a great American poet of the 19th century. In July of 1861, just before the start of the Civil War, Longfellow's wife Fanny died in a house fire. It was a devastating loss. He wrote in his journal that Christmas was 'inexpressibly sad'...")
  • A Vision of Peace

    by David Russell
    In World War I, trench warfare lasting months and months meant that soldiers from opposing sides were often in close proximity to one another. This kind of war was horrific. The British lost so many troops in World War I that Winston Churchill said afterwards that theirs was a victory “scarcely distinguishable from defeat.” But on Christmas Eve 1914, the proximity of the trenches led to something very different. British soldier Captain Robert Patrick Miles wrote about it: We are having the most extraordinary Christmas Day imaginable. A sort of unarranged and quite unauthorized but perfectly understood and scrupulously observed truce exists between us and our friends in front… The thing started last night – a bitter cold night, with white frost – soon after dusk when the Germans started shouting 'Merry Christmas, Englishmen' to us. Of course our fellows shouted back and presently large numbers of both sides had left their trenches, unarmed, and met in the debatable, shot-riddled, no man’s land between the lines. British, German, French, and other troops sang Christmas carols, shared Chocolate, champagne, and brandy, and shared photos of loved ones. They even played soccer. For a time, at least, they reveled in their shared humanity. This of course made their superiors furious, not just because the troops were disobeying orders, but because it is much harder to harm someone with whom you have formed some sort of relationship. Getting to know people, especially people who are different from you, is a way to build peace...
  • Basis of Hope

    by Dennis Sepper
    Michael Martin was serving as a Mennonite youth pastor when news of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School came as a “breaking news” story on his car radio. The news touched and troubled Pastor Martin deeply. As he went about his ministry he couldn’t shake the story and a feeling that he had to do something. A short time later Martin knew what he had to do. Pastor Martin left his ministry and, with his father, learned to blacksmith. They launched a non-profit faith based organization called Raw Tools. They collect guns—shotguns, rifles and handguns—and transform them, shaping them into gardening tools which are then donated to community gardens all over the United States. Not only did Michael Martin take the words of Isaiah 2:4 literally, but Raw Tools paid attention to the rest of Isaiah’s words and part of their new ministry includes teaching and training people around issues such as restorative justice, conflict mediation, and active-bystander training. Martin really wants to give people hope, just like Isaiah did, that the current violence in our world is not the last word…that God will have the last word and it will be a Word of peace and justice.

Other Resources from 2019

Other Resources (2016 to 2018)

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Other Resources (2013 to 2015)

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Other Resources (2010 to 2012)

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Other Resources (Archives)

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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The Classics

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