My children and I recently attended a church in which a photo of a lion and a lamb sitting peacefully together was projected onto a large screen at the front. Of course, the image had been Photoshopped, because no self-respecting lamb would be crazy enough to cozy up to a lion. But this image, which on the face of things seems absurd, captures one of God’s greatest promises, when he will, he says, create peace between natural enemies, between those who eat and those who get eaten, between the haves and have-nots of this world.
As I looked at the image, I thought about my children, who had recently been fighting. What would life be like if they were always at peace? And what about their schools? What if there were no distinction between the “cool” kids and everybody else? Or what about their city? What if the folks from the “good” neighborhoods started partying with the folks from the “bad” neighborhoods? What if we all became friends? What would life feel like then?
And what about me? What about my own internal divisions? What would it be like to always be at peace with myself? No self-doubt, no recrimination, no regret, no saying one thing and doing another. My life would be peaceful because it would always align with God’s ways.
For that matter, what would the whole world be like if it were perfectly at peace? God has promised to create a world we can barely imagine, a new heaven and a new earth. But imagine it we should. And long for it and pray for it as well. While we are doing that, let us continue to find joy in the peace that is already ours by virtue of what Christ has done for us. More