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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Advent 5: Waiting for peace

We live in a world that longs for peace. The newspapers scream of our need for it. When Isaiah, one of the prophets in the Old Testament, spoke of who Jesus would be, who the waited for one would be, he named him the "Prince of Peace." He said that in spite of all appearances, despite the violence and pain of the world as is, one day someone would come to sort it out. This man would be a great judge: he would settle the disputes that ravage nations and peoples. He would ensure that every boot used for battle, every blood-stained piece of armour, would be thrown away and burned because it would not be needed any more. (Isaiah 9:5) The people themselves would beat their swords into ploughs and their spears into pruning hooks. (Isaiah 2:4). On that day there would be no more war. No more armies. No more child soldiers. No more tears and grief. No more death. 

We do not live in that day. We live waiting for the fulfilment of that promise. We wait for the final day when Jesus promises to come back and sort things out once and for all. We live in the not yet. And it is painful. 

And yet, in the waiting, Jesus is still our Prince of Peace. He still offers peace to his people. As we pray for peace between nations, Jesus extends his own peace to us. He says to my anxious soul which frets about Christmas presents, and what people think of me, and whether my friend is going to be ok, about what my future is going to be like, and a thousand other unnecessary things everyday; he says "Peace be with you" (John 20:19).

He says, "I'm leaving peace with you even though you can't see me. I'm giving you the gift of peace and I'm giving it to you in a way the world can't. You don't need to be troubled. You don't need to be afraid any more." (John 14:27)

He says, "Do not be anxious. I am close. Come to me and talk to me about it. Leave it with me. And I will give you a peace that you don't understand, a peace that will keep you safe and calm your heart." (Philippians 4:5-7)

He says, "Trust me. I'm the rock. I'm the solid ground. I will keep you in perfect peace if you would just look to me. Trust that I am who I say I am and I want to give you the peace I say I can give you." (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Reflection: I want to know this peace today. I want my heart to be filled with it to the brim so that in the middle of any and every situation I am totally secure. Father God, please give me peace today. Give it to me in the way that only you can. Show me that my feet are standing on solid ground even when it feels like everything has given way. Amen

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