an ancient song

There is an ancient song. It’s been sung for generations upon generations, passed down like a bloodline. The song is deep in me.

It’s a song of hope I carry like blood just under the surface, whizzing about with purpose, with promise. It’s the hope of a new city where transformation has come and wrought it’s best work, crafting a masterpiece.

In the new city we see granaries, not armories. We’re busy making food, not war. The department of defense has been closed, the department of agriculture expanded. The innovation, the investment, the inspiration circulates around food security, enough for everyone.

In the new city all our hurts and hostilities have been quelled. Why even learn war anymore – there’s no need. Violence suffered defeat, a new kind of shalom resurrected. We engage each other in deep dialogue, heated words but warm hearts, no less passion but much more love. We’ve truly learned another way to be in this world.

There is an ancient song. It’s been sung for generations upon generations, passed down like a bloodline. The song is deep in me.

But when I sing it I dare to imagine such a place and such a time. I whisper the words like a prayer, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That is how the song feels in my mouth and echoes in my soul – wanting the peace of heaven to penetrate the ether and transform my city.

Sometimes my singing becomes shouting because good songs are hard contain – hard to quiet. For once I turn the volume knob all the way up, not caring if I blow the speakers. I want to inhabit that new city with granaries on every corner, where people can come and buy and eat. I want to walk streets once considered dangerous and fear no evil, know that my neighbors aren’t under threat anymore.

I sing this ancient song alongside many others. Even Isaiah and Micah sang it in their day. All of us singing loud and yearning long for deep transformation to come, by God’s spirit.

There is an ancient song. It’s been sung for generations upon generations, passed down like a bloodline. The song is deep in me.

When I get nicked by harsh news or bruised by angry words the chorus rises, red on my skin. I blurt the song out, yelping my deep-seeded prayer. I taste it on my tongue.

I see homes ripped by rockets in Gaza, fearful Israeli children fleeing at the siren’s sound. There’s a death toll (again) and soldiers sleeping on tanks, on the border. The region’s schooled in war, readied for violence. Granaries aren’t a priority.

But one day, in the New Jerusalem, bread making will be on the rise. Granaries will be full. Palestinians and Israelis will walk together, share sage tea, sing new songs together. And all the metal from discarded weapons of former confrontations… will be melted down and put to better use.

Swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks; one day we won’t learn war anymore.

( They got the idea from an ancient song they once heard. Turns out is was in their blood all along…)


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9 thoughts on “an ancient song”

  1. Tina/ @teenbug
     ·  Reply

    You had me at, “We’re busy making food, not war. ”


    If only…

  2. Joanna
     ·  Reply

    These are powerful words, Kelley. Funnily enough it was only this week that I noticed how that passage in Micah puts war and farming in binary opposition (rather than the obvious, but more abstract, war v peace). Much to reflect on here.

    • Kelley Nikondeha
       ·  Reply

      It also reminds me of something Walter Brueggemann wrote about in Journey Toward the Common Good – we can use our energy toward anxiety or toward the common good in our neighborhood. We can either give energy to anxiety (and thus war-making to protect our interests) or to the neighbor (as in food security, health, etc.) Such a fertile image / pasage / song!

      • Joanna
         ·  Reply

        Wow. That is also very powerful. Have been wanting to read Brueggemann for a while – can you recommend where to start?

        • kelleynikondeha
           ·  Reply

          Journey Toward the Common Good is a good intro to his work, actually. His seminal text, also wonderful, is The Prophetic Imagination.

          I also highly recommend his collection of sermons (there are three collections available on amazon) – great to see how he brings biblical theology to the task of preaching. For me, these are the best devotionals – theologically sound, challenging, great exhortations and well written. Enjoy!

          • Joanna

            thanks so much Kelley – I shall!

  3. Sherry Naron
     ·  Reply

    Hey! I recognize that graphic 😉

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