(click for full reading)
“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
This week we are re posting a sermon which sounds like it was written for this very moment but was preached exactly one year ago. The message and this devotional that went with it proves that our Advent hope for peace is persistent. Our focus remains on God’s promise of redemption for all creation.
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
On the 4th Sunday of Advent, our congregation gathered to experience a beautiful cantata performed by our choir and many special musicians. The title of the cantata was, And On Earth Peace. That title expresses a hope that feels so far removed from reality. We seem to be living in a time when events are revealing a wound in our national community that we wanted to believe was healing into a fading scar.
One of the pieces in the gorgeous cantata is entitled “Meant For Holy Scars.” The choir sang, “creation yearning for His coming, silent longing, countless stars. God reveals redemption’s story, through a baby, meant for holy scars…
Even during this holy season, there is something inside us that mourns, something that realizes, it’s not supposed to be this way…Will we ever know peace in our country, in our world, in our homes?
It can take every ounce of courage to remain hopeful. How can the world become a place where people of all races, religions, and creeds can live together in peace? It will not be easy. Some say it is simply not possible.
But on the fourth Sunday of Advent, our choir sang of peace, of the Prince of Peace and of a hope that will not die. A hope that calls us to the impossible because the vision does not rest on our own power.
Shouts of joy break through the darkness, the choir sang, brilliant star dispels the night, living hope has come among us heralded by angel flight. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Hear the angels of heaven sing. A song of peace to earth they bring…
Peace must be dared, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said. It is the great venture. It can never be safe.
So peace is what we pray for and work for and hope for. And as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace… peace is our song.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
Take a moment to listen again to the message Daring Peace to help you consider the following questions.
1. Does your preparation for Christmas bring a sense of peace into your life? If not, how might you consider a different approach next year?
2. How does your Christian faith affect the way you react to some of the recent tragic events in our country and around the world? How would your reaction to these events be different if you had no faith?
3. Are you hopeful that there can be peace on earth?
This week I challenge you to go out of your way to invite someone to attend worship on Christmas Eve at Prince of Peace or wherever you attend church. A light shines in the darkness and no darkness shall overcome it. You could help bring that hope into someone’s life with a simple invitation to come and see.