There is a strong tension in our readings today, between the prophet Isaiah’s metastatic dream of universal peace, when “the lion lies down with the lamb,” and the urgent, intense cry of John the Baptist: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Produce good fruits as evidence of your genuine repentance!” In their zeal for God, prophets and the faithful must struggle against allowing their imaginations to lose grip on reality: Isaiah’s dream of complete peace on earth—of a radical change in reality—is an illusion, which the Church Fathers corrected by projecting the blissful state to the realm beyond death, into eternity. Secular souls, bound to a temporal perspective, still get drunk on Isaiah’s illusions of radical change. John the Baptist’s imagination of the coming wrath of God clashed head-on with the coming of God in Christ Jesus, whose merciful deeds and words tasted of wrath only in those who hated him, and rejected God. And still one encounters preachers of the word who are overly absorbed in visions of wrath, and seek to “scare the living dickens” out of their flock. Love and truth are far more powerful agents of change for the better.