Healing Line

Healing Line

From Francis

by Francis MacNutt
December 1990

I love walking and being in nature — especially I enjoy watching birds and adding to my lifetime list of different species I've seen (I've spotted about 450 species in the U.S. alone). No surprise then that one of the passages of scripture that has always touched me is Isaiah 11: 6–9, the portrayal of the "Peaceable Kingdom" that so attracted the early Quakers:


"The wolf will live with the lamb,
The panther lie down with the kid,
calf, lion and fat–stock beast together,
with a little boy to lead them.

The cow and the bear will graze,
their young will lie down together.

The lion will eat hay like the ox.

The infant will play over the den of the adder;
the baby will put his hand in the vipers lair.

No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain..."


Since Isaiah is the prophet most quoted in preparation for Christmas (in the Church's Advent calendar and in Handel's Messiah) I try to read Isaiah every year in the dark days of December. This year I discovered a short commentary concerning this beautiful passage about the wolf lying down with the lamb: Isaiah 11 is a prophecy that when the Messiah comes to bring peace on earth, that peace will be shared by all of nature. All of nature will be reconciled with us as we are reconciled with God and with one another! Our rebellion against God broke the harmony between us and nature (Genesis 3). Nature's disorder and the disasters that follow (such as earthquakes and disease) are punishments reflecting our sin.

The Kingdom of God, heralded first by Jesus Christ will result first of all in our reconcilliation with God, but then in our reconcilliation with God's marvelous creation. "This peace will extend to the animal kingdom, even to the snake which was responsible for the first fault. Here the Messianic age is symbolically described as a return to the peace of Eden" (footnote to Is. 11:6 in the New Jerusalem Bible).

The current movement then, to be environmentally sensitive, is deep down a movement towards the restoration of all things in Jesus Christ.

Lambs and donkeys and cows and stars–out–of–the–East — all gathered around the crib at Christmas is a touching echo of Isaiah where the wolf and the lamb mysteriously become friends, a lion eats hay, and a baby puts its hand, unafraid, into the snake's den.

With joy, we and all the staff at CHM wish you all the peace that Christmas can bring!

Francis & Judith
Rachel & David

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. December 1990 Issue