Sunday, December 4, 2016

Peace Sunday

Here us part of what we heard in church today - From Isaiah 11: 1-10

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.

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.

These images are profound and powerful.  The shoot  - the new life - that comes from a stump.  Seems improbable.  And the peaceful life of predator and prey seems impossible.

I heard a sermon that spoke to me this morning as the preacher shared that she had been present in 1989 at the fall of the Berlin wall and she had also been in South Africa  at the end of Apartheid in 1994.  She spoke of the prayers that preceded these events and how long it took for them to transpire. She spoke of lighting a candle of peace because we have a vision - as Christians - of the reign of God where there is peace.  And we believe in the power of prayer and our peaceful and compassion works in this world.

My Sunday practice of reading the New York Times makes me believe that peace is impossible - whether we are talking about peace in the middle east or peace between republicans and democrats or peace in some of our families.  Sometimes I get a glimpse into the silent warfare or the constant conflict within some relationships and I wonder if they will ever come to a peaceful acceptance of each other.

I am grateful to begin this second Sunday of Advent with these hope filled images - of life where you think there can be no life and enemies who find a way to live together peacefully.  I know that peace does not just "happen" but requires our attention, our humility, our courage, our faith. So I light a candle today and pray that I may work to understand, forgive, and build bridges in my world so that I may - in some small way -  be a peacemaker.

Another prayer of blessing

May you be blessed by the God of PEACE who stills the heart that quakes with fear or doubt or confusion.
May your discover your peace in the "God seed" of your own being and in the flowering of your inner goodness.
May the warmth of your peace bring calm to those who tremble in fear and uncertainty.
May the blessing of PEACE be on you.

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