Devotion for December 1st

Isaiah 2:1-5

Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

When I started this art series, I returned to a familiar medium: silk painting with gold resist and ink dyes. I photographed my creative process, capturing the wrinkled fabric, the wet lines of gold, the inks bleeding into one another.I’ve collaged photographs of my silk painting into the backdrops of these digital drawings. The silk background represents a tapestry of time, like an interconnected web of beauty and story traced through the generations.

As I reread this familiar passage in Isaiah, I paused at my favorite line about swords that become plowshares and spears that transform into pruning shears. In the past, I’ve marveled at the poetry of tools for destruction becoming instruments for cultivation. This year, I contemplated the ways these tools are used and realized that this vision holds gritty promise. Iron plows, mattocks tools, adzes—these are used to break apart rock-hard (often long-neglected) soil so it might receive water, nutrients, and roots. Plowing the earth is a physically intensive process of deconstruction that gives way for seeds to be planted, to be nurtured, and—with all the right elements and some luck—to grow into something worth harvesting.

Pruning is a seasonal act of trust; it feels so risky, especially when it takes months for that new life to begin to appear. But pruning away what is dead or in excess allows the plant to direct its energy into growing new shoots and branches once spring comes.

In other words, I realized that both of these tools are used in the process of regeneration, but they are not in themselves symbols of a bountiful harvest.Likegardening,“learningwar no more”isadaily practice requiring dedication and lots of trust that we are truly cultivating an environment for God’s peace to one day bloom. And so, in this Advent season, what needs to be plowed or pruned? What daily acts of regeneration will provide for you and the generations who come after you?


Breathe deeply as you gaze upon the image on the left. Imagine placing yourself in this scene. What do you see? How do you feel? Get quiet and still, offering a silent or spoken prayer to God.

Read more about the Sanctified Art creative team and guest contributors who compiled this year’s devotionals.

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