Advent 2 - PEACE


It's week 2 of Advent. Many of us lit the second candle of our advent wreaths on Sunday, perhaps reading from the lectionary, Psalm 85:8-

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
   for God will speak peace to God's people,
   to the Lord's faithful, to those who turn to God in their hearts.

Peace. Oh, how I long for peace these days. It seems so far away from this world, from my own life. To light a candle and pray to the God of peace almost feels hollow. Almost. My first thought when I hear "peace" is not of hippies, a silent night, or happy platitudes. Instead, I think of the scathing words of Jeremiah 6:14-

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
    saying, “Peace, peace,”
    when there is no peace.

"They" refers to the prophets and priests of Israel, the ones who are supposed to care for God's people and speak the truth. Instead of leading with courage and conviction in times of great difficulty, they have instead kept repeating a lie, over and over, until they can convince people that it is the truth.

Thank God for this peace and prosperity in our nation!
     But we're in the middle of our longest war with no exit strategy in sight.
There's never been peace like this!!
     But over 575 people have been killed in mass shootings this year alone.
This economy is booming and everyone is so happy!
     But millions of people worry about where their next meal will come from.

There is no peace. Not true peace. Not the kind of peace promised by the Prince of Peace, where the lion will lie down with the lamb. The kind of peace we seek is not just the absence of noise and violence, but a peace that permeates all facets of life. We seek a peace that is for the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the abuser and the abused. 

The second week of Advent reminds me that Christians are called to be peacemakers, to work to bring peace to this world. The wonder of the lectionary is found in the passages we might be tempted to forget like this little verse tucked in Isaiah 40:6, 

A voice says, “Cry out!”
       And I said, “What shall I cry?”

What shall I cry? Cry out for peace! Do not proclaim that there is peace where there is not, but instead work to bring peace to places desperately in need of it. Cry out for peace in your community, in your family, in your heart and soul. We are a called to be peacemakers. Peace does not come until we are willing to work for it. 

In a time of chaos, particularly on either side of the political aisle, there has never been a more important time for peacemakers. MULLER! NET NEUTRALITY! TAXES! IMPEACHMENT! GLOBAL WARMING! IMPENDING NUCLEAR WAR! Fear and anxiety are rampant and we need people to bring peace to dark places. The second candle of Advent reminds us that the light is getting brighter, if only slightly, if only noticeable to those who are paying attention. Let the growing light remind us of our calling to be peacemakers, in a world desperately in need of us.