Advent 2016: Peace

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12

On the second Sunday of Advent, we transition from thoughts of hope to thoughts of peace. The peace that passes all understanding. The peace following the aftermath of the storm that is birth…the birth of the Christ child. The peace that would be called to during the death, burial and resurrection of the man that baby would become.

And the Spirit of the Lord will 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.
He will delight in obeying the Lord.
He will not judge by appearance
nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.

As I sit here trying to think of what to share today all I can think is this…

I have long given up on the certainty that so many of my family, of my friends, of the world feel in their religious conviction. I am uncertain about how it all works. I am untrusting of a system that claims to be based on love but fails to recognize the humanity of those who would never know or understand the Christ story. I am suspicious of anything that has rules that are so black and white in a world that functions almost entirely in the gray.

But this is what I know…

I am loved by God. I have felt and feel now that the presence of the Holy Spirit is close to me, in me, with me, working through me. This is the peace that comes with knowing God.
On my best days I give myself over to this love and act it out for others to see and feel. On my worst days, I hoard it and live with fear and anxiety that this love will be rejected when shared. But always always, God’s love is with me…inside me…all over me.

When the hope of the first week of Advent fails me and the Light of the World seems dim, I put my trust in the love of God and the peace that comes from knowing that God loves me. And in that spirit of peace, my prayer for me, for you, for us is:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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