Peace

An Advent meditation I wrote for our community’s Sunday evening Bible Study.

Song #1: Wait for the Lord

Is. 11:1-9

Reader 1: 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.

All: Maranatha! Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Reader 2: His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

All: Maranatha! Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Reader 1: Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

All: Maranatha! Lord Jesus, quickly come!

Reader 2: The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

All: Maranatha! Lord Jesus, quickly come!
Reader 1: In this season of Advent, we look both backward and forward- backward to the incarnation of our Lord as a poor refugee, and forward to his return and the restoring of creation. We have been blessed to prepare for Advent in our anticipation of Fay. How do we resume such impatience, urgency, and preparation for the King of Kings? We prepare for his coming anew into our lives by remembering that he is our hope, peace, joy, and love. Yet these words also tell us how we are to prepare; last week while remembering that Jesus is our only hope and is bringing hope to the world, we are commanded to hope, to hope only for Jesus, and in doing so we prepare our hearts for his coming. (Light 1 candle).

(A moment of silence to reflect on our Hope.)

Reader 2: This week, we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace, who makes wars cease, breaks the bow, shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire. All creation longs for this peace—from Afghanistan to Iraq, to Israel and Palestine, to the Sudan and Congo, to Los Angeles and Walltown. Our broken families need this peace. Our rivers and forests need this peace. Our own internal violence needs this peace. But to prepare to receive this peace, we are commanded to be peace. How can we receive the one who restores the Shalom of the world if we do not first allow Christ to say to us, “Peace, be still”? In becoming peacemakers, we are better able to have eyes to see our Messiah coming and to receive him. This is how we prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his paths.

Advent reminds us that the world reacts violently to the Messiah’s peace-bringing reign; the first Christmas was anything but a season of warmth and happiness. Jesus’ birth happened in a dark and dirty cave and his family fled the only type of peace the world knows, that of the sword. The massacre of children at our Savior’s birth shows us that he is not ignorant to the suffering of other innocents at the hand of the principalities and powers throughout the world today. For us to prepare for Christ, we must also be aware of this suffering, often in the name of peace. If Jesus is our peace, then to be peacemakers in the world is to prepare the way of the Lord’s return. Our desire to be and make peace is void if it is not coupled with hope that only Jesus can bring Shalom, and that we are instruments of his peace.

This candle represents the light of peace that comes to a dark world.

(A moment of silence to reflect on the Peace of the world.)

Let us pray together this prayer for peace:

Lord, send us anew the instrument of your peace,

Who sows love where hatred abounds…in Russia, India, and Pakistan;

Who has sown forgiveness where there is injury…in South Africa, Germany, and Rwanda;

Who sows faith where there is doubt…in China, Korea, and the U.S.;

Hope where there is despair…in Sudan, Congo, and Zimbabwe;

Light in dark places…in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.;

And is turning mourning into joy…in Mumbai, Haiti, and Durham.

For it is in receiving him, that we give to others, it is in being pardoned, that we can pardon, and  it is in life with him that the power of death is exhausted. We pray now for other areas of  violence in ourselves and in our surroundings: (open for prayer and silence)
Song #2: Dona Nobis Pachem

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