Animals are integral to both our biological and moral ecosystems. To deny this is to deny our location in creation. It is undeniably true that the greater we interact with the creation surrounding us, the better our comprehension becomes of our own place on this planet. Humility, mercy, peace, justice, grace and love are bound together, not only in our human interaction, but our interwoven existence with all living things.
I love our imagery in the Isaiah text. It has inspired visual artists and poets for centuries with its fantastic worldview. Lambs nestled with leopards, lions and calves, bears eating with lions, scenes difficult for our minds to conceive. All these incredible images have at
their center a child leading them. Unthinkable!
Yet, it is in what is missing in these representations of God’s Kingdom transfixing me. What is missing is no less fantastic. When I hear this incredible text and images I am struck by something that always surprises me. In God”s view there is no domination involved in the place of absolute judgement, righteousness and faithfulness. Violence amongst creatures ceases and we listen to the lessons only children can teach us. These animals today are a blessing to us. Each one lives with us as a witness to God’s vision of the world as it should be, a world of love, care and generosity that turns our assumptions upside down.