2nd Sunday of Advent- PEACE
On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, many of us breathed a collective sign of relief as we heard the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case. GUILTY. That one word declared justice for a young black man and his family. This sad tale began on February 23, 2020 when Ahmad Arbery went jogging, as many of us do…as I do five days a week. He ran through a neighborhood not his own… as I do every morning. I never fear as I run through one neighborhood after the next. But on that day, as Ahmad ran through a neighborhood in Satilla Shores, GA, he was surrounded by three men with a gun, and in just moments his life was over. It took twenty-one months to bring the case to trial. And then for 18 days our country watched the trial unfold with the graphic video of Ahmad’s last moments replayed again and again. We wondered whether justice would prevail in a courtroom in what we in the north call the “deep south.” Many feared that a “Not Guilty” verdict would bring more protests. Thankfully, on the day before Thanksgiving, a just verdict was rendered, bringing peace to city streets across the country. Or did it…?
Peace. How would we define Peace? Is Peace just the cessation of hostilities? Is Peace when fighters are sent to their respective corners? Is Peace found in our collective silence in the face of wrong? Many of us just want a calm and a quiet that allows life to go on. But is that Peace? The Hebrew word for Peace is Shalom, meaning wholeness. Shalom implies the healing of rifts, not an intentional avoidance of brokenness. Shalom brings people together rather than allowing them to co-exist at a distance. Shalom is not just a state of mind and heart, but a description of community when “the lion and the lamb lie down together.” Shalom is found not just when city streets are quiet, but when people work together to bring healing to their city. Shalom is found not just when we can survive a family dinner, but when we love each other as Jesus loves us… when love is more important than the disagreement that threatens to divide us.
The Greek word for Peace-Irene echoes Shalom. Irene means reconciliation. It is an active, intentional, far-reaching call to work for a lasting Peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the Peace-Makers.” He was calling us to actively engage in the work of Peace. And then Jesus gave a promise, that the Peace-Makers would “inherit the earth.” That promise makes many of us chuckle. Who would want to inherit this messy world? Many of us have given up on this world… we see no hope for the healing of this world. We just want to survive this world… staying quietly in our own corner… avoiding the mess the best we can… knowing a better world is to come. But Jesus came to earth, not just to call us to another world, but to heal this one! He is the Prince of Peace for here and now. He calls us to be his hands and feet and voices in this healing work… in our city, in our community, in our family. PEACE.
If you have ever wondered what to give Jesus for his birthday- Peace would be a very good gift. What can you do… what step can you take… what word of forgiveness can you offer… to bring just a little more Peace to this world that God so loves? Blessings as you work on your Christmas gift for Jesus
With you working for Peace,
Posted in From The Pastor