Isaiah and the Kingdom of Peace
We popularly think of prophecy as a prediction of future events. Ancient Hebrew prophets spoke in the present tense, and with good reason. They envisioned a God who was vitally interested in their own generation. To honor the ever-freshness of the divine Word, we tried to present all prophecy in this book in the present tense, with an eye to our generation. Isaiah was, to use his own phrase, a "prince of peace." His worldview remains the most radically universal in the Hebrew Scriptures and is still rebuffed by many of us not yet willing to imagine that God loves our enemies as much as God loves us. We pray for the day when the peaceable kingdom will be more than a prophet’s lovely daydream. That kingdom must live first in us, heart by heart by heart.
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How might one describe this book? I term it a remarkable surprise. The illustrations are unusual and thought-provoking. The text is a delightful marriage of prose and poetry. In a word, this is a beautiful book—one that must not be marked up with underlinings and comments in the margins, though the temptation is to do just that!
This is not simply a summary of the history of God's people. Camille's words ring true today, in a world where we keep God "snug and safe in the temple. Out of the way of politics." Today, as in the past, "Kings need prophets and prophets their kings. Prophets tell truth, but kings move nations." It is also a verity, "While God speaks of peace, the nations are at war. The Lion roars in our land."
The Bible is often read literally and understood fundamentally. Or, it is dissected into scholarly bits and pieces of information. This book gives the reader scope to dig beneath the words and gives spirit to scholarship. It offers an opportunity to view Scripture as the word of a living God to living people with all their wonders and warts. It portrays the reality that a peaceable kingdom, a peaceable world, is ours to have and enjoy if only we begin to accept, honor, and revere God's promise and desire that all people are God's beloved ones. "God cares very much about the fate of every one of us... God loves our enemies as much as God loves us."
Heaven has spoken in the words of Alice Camille.Fran Salone-Pelletier, Today’s American Catholic, August-September 2012
I am a man
whose lips can speak
words that live
in the mind of God.
God has revealed from the beginning:
That I would speak and not be heard.
I am a prophet of futility,
consecrated for failure—
like many who bear the holy word.
"How long, O Lord?" I ask. And ask.
Too long, I fear.