“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” – Isaiah 11:1-3
More than anything else, Isaiah is the Jewish prophet of hope. This is where the followers of Jesus look to understand the meaning of their experience of him. The repetitive restatement of verses with their succinct conclusions produces a steady comforting rhythm. Metaphor is piled upon metaphor to build the peaceable kingdom among natural antagonists. Peace among neighbors is God's future, where "the lion shall eat straw like the ox."
There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but not in Israel. The Jews are the people of 'the Word' not 'the Picture.' Visual images are strictly forbidden in Judaism. Pictures are so literal and verbose that metaphor loses its power.
Bill West has been a member of St. Stephen's for about 18 years. He attends the 8:30 service where he serves as an acolyte, reader & usher. He is also a lay Eucharistic visitor, taking Communion to shut-ins.