The Book of Wisdom, written in the century before the birth of Jesus, reflects the Jewish expectation of a messiah, a divine intervention into history. When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land. The image of the messiah as a “fierce warrior” colored the way people looked at Jesus and made him hard to accept. Instead of fierceness, Jesus brought love. The preaching of the church has yo-yoed back and forth from an image of God as coercive to an image of God as attractive. Are we people of faith because God is going to punish us if we don’t shape up or do we believe because we want to be embraced in the gentle arms of the One who has loved us even before we were born.