The Book of Isaiah 2:1-5 tells about vision, anticipation, a prophecy, hope and the destiny of nations and peoples in their relationship with God. The passage is a revelation of God’s work among peoples and nations, of which the house of God is the center “where nations shall flock together.” The passage assures the certainty of the rule of God on the mountain of the Lord, on the highest hill, where peace flows “like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream, and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees.”(Isaiah 66:12) In this passage God created the earth, nature, humanity and communities, a revelation of God’s self to us.
The creation of community, humanity and earth is the fulfillment of God’s kingdom. The fulfillment is expressed in the advent, in the birth and in the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus seeks his mission among large throngs of people in vast communities and in diverse cultures. Jesus healed and taught women, men, youth and children. They are poor, sick, hopeless, wandering, exploited, imprisoned and blinded by systems and beliefs. Jesus heals his community of the “beloved ones” of their sicknesses and casts out demons. Jesus teaches them to love one another as a community and as families. Jesus preaches to them parables about the earth, creation and nature as God’s kingdom.
Reclaiming God’s Prophecy
Today, the message of the prophecy of God’s rule and kingdom needs to be reclaimed by many communities. The Lumad, a community of indigenous peoples in the southern Philippines, are peace-loving people. The Lumad live in the mountains where they have abundance and peace. Respecting nature is sacred, as it is a source of life in the community.
As a community, the Lumad respect every breath as an expression of the living God. The Lumad believe in the sacredness of every human being and every creation. Bees, flowers, trees, mountains, rain, rivers, the sun and the moon are all expressions of God’s presence. But the Lumad are suffering. They are suffering as a community because of aggressive development by big corporations. Their community is being destroyed, and many Lumad are killed in defense of their land and God’s earth, and of God’s master plan of a peaceful and abundant community.
Communities are organizing to help the Lumad protect their lives and stay safe. Churches, secular and legal organizations, and women’s organizations like United Methodist Women pray, advocate for and support the Lumad in their search for meaning as a community and in defense of their life and land.
Anticipation of Hope
The anticipation of hope, peace and abundance as promised in John 10:10 is ongoing in all communities on this earth. God’s love to us is certain, and God’s rule of love is consistent. God’s call to communities and families continues in order to fulfill God’s presence in the restoration of our communities, families and the earth. We are all called to be witnesses as life-enforcing communities. God called us to become God’s communities.
Prayer: God of Creation, we thank you for communities, brothers and sisters, young and old. We thank you for the whole of creation as one among us. We thank you for your sustaining love and grace. Amen.
Emma A. Cantor is a United Methodist Women regional missionary in the East Asia/Pacific region.