Advent Candle: Peace

 Photo Credit: Linh Nguyen

Photo Credit: Linh Nguyen

Can we imagine a world where nations don’t launch military attacks against each other, where our young men and women won’t train for war?  Can we imagine a time when the instruments of violence will be refashioned into tools for the harvest?  Can you picture people bringing their guns to a recycle centre where they are turned into combines?  This is a vision I want to lean into—not a tentative peace, not a ceasefire, but a peace that is part of the very foundations of the way we interact with each other.

The biblical vision of shalom functions always as a firm rejection of values and life-styles that seek security and well-being in manipulative ways at the expense of another part of creation, another part of the community, or a brother or sister.
— Walter Brueggemann

Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace in the Old Testament, is about more than simply the absence of violence.  It’s about wholeness.  It’s about everything existing in right relationships.  

This tiny baby we celebrate at Christmas is rumoured to be the Prince of Peace, to usher in an upside down Kingdom where the vision of shalom is enacted.  Yet 2000 years later we are still a world torn up by violence, we are still waiting for this vision to be realized.  So as we wait and pray for peace, we also do whatever we are able to live the promised future now.  We live as cultivators of shalom in the everyday contours of our lives.  

Blessed are the peacemakers.  The peacemakers, not the peacekeepers.  Peacemakers, the ones actively seeking to build bridges and forge relationships, actively seeking to not just avoid conflict, but to foster flourishing. 

Prayer:

Prince of Peace, we long for the world to be as you intend it to be, for relationships to be healthy and whole, for battle fields to be transformed into grain fields.  We long for the lion and the lamb to lie down together.  And so we pray, Come, Lord Jesus, into our violence and brokenness, and bring your peace.