It is one of my favorite visions of the future and I marvel at the heart and mind of the prophet who brought it to life by putting it to pen. The One who delights in the Lord will pair wolves with lambs, leopards with goats, calves with lions, bears with cows, infants with adders. It’s a recipe for carnage but in the imagination of the prophet the predator lies down with the prey for a nap not for lunch. The prophet envisions the accepted order of the natural world radically transformed by the One upon whom the Spirit of the Lord finds a resting place, who judges the poor with righteousness, who decides with equity for the meek and slays the wicked without breaking a sweat. We are baptized into the vision of Isaiah and anointed with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord, joy in God’s presence. It is no small thing to be birthed again in the midst of the assembly and publicly joined with Christ and all who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. Welcome to the kingdom! Of course to be baptized into the vision is to be claimed by the future and called to live it in the present. The whole creation groans for us to do more than just recycle, as helpful as that is. It is a small planet we share and whatever we do to preserve and protect anticipates the peaceable kingdom in the “not yet” in which we live. And as we do the whole creation, subjected to frustration because the first humans were not satisfied with paradise, breathes a little easier even as it waits in eager expectation for the day when paradise lost is found and once again the earth is home for all creatures of our God and King. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.