music and Lyrics by Steve bell
(a newly released Steve Bell song based on
Isaiah 2:1-5, 7: 10-16, 11:1-10, 35:1-10)
Oh ancient seer, your vision told
Of desert highways leading home
To the mountain of the Lord,
Where nations sound a righteous song forevermore.
And on that mountain men will forge
From cruel implements of war
The tools to till and garden soil.
The rose will bloom and faces shine
with gladdening oil.
And it will surely come to pass
Justice will reign on earth at last.
The wolf will lie down with the lamb.
No beast destroy, no serpent strike the child’s hand.
And God himself will choose a sign.
A frightened woman in her time
Will bear a son and name him well.
God with us! O come, o come, Emmanuel!
very lamb returning in our future “high and
exalted” on clouds of glory. And we profess
His coming to us now in the present.
The first coming is a matter of history.
The final coming is a matter
It is the present coming that
seems shrouded in obscurity.
Perhaps we simply don’t know
how to look.
Earlier this spring I attended
a peace conference where several communities from around
the world, all in the process of
rising above conflict and/or injustice, came to share their stories. My job was to listen and at
the end of the day reflect briefly
what I heard.
The stories were incredible.
Ari, a Sri Lankan man, understood profoundly the fragile nature of human dignity and the
degrading dependency external
powers (through aid) can inflict
on those they profess to help. He
also knows how hard it is to resist that
help, which can in the short run relieve
present misery. When I listened to his
story, I was struck by the incredible and
Listen to the song “Oracles” from Steve Bell’s Christmas
CD Keening for the Dawn at www.faithtoday.ca/oracles.
counterintuitive wisdom clearly revealed
to him. And I thought of that first oracle.
Dennis from Bougainville (Papua New
Guinea) led an armed revolutionary revolt
against colonial Australia whose policies
toward Bougainville have been terribly destructive both socially and environmentally. He recounted the horrors of a war in
which he lost his wife and son and personally suffered crippling wounds. And he recounted his conversion and commitment
to a way of peace, which he now leads and
which includes – interestingly – gardening. I thought of the second oracle.
It was at this conference where I met
Ahmad and Dorit, the Arab man and Jewish woman living in peaceful community
in modern Israel.
And I thought of the third oracle.
A contemplative nun, Sister Pine, led us
all on a walk of “mindfulness and attentiveness” where, while walking barefoot
slowly through the grass, I was suddenly
gifted with an overwhelming childlike delight in the very miracle of creation.