Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advent: Week 2

Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is offence, pardon,
Where there is discord, unity,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is error, truth,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is sadness, joy,
Where there is darkness, light.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 11:6-9

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The second candle represents peace. What images come to mind when you consider the meaning of peace? The definition of peace is an absence of war, conflict or strife. But how does the world define peace?

For many, peace is accomplished when we are smarter, more beautiful, rich, famous, strongest, the hero, have the biggest or the best. But aren’t these things enemies of peace? Striving for these things only brings worry, guilt, fear, jealousy, anger and chaos to our lives. We live as self survivalists. People are willing to hurt, injure or kill at any cost to get its way.

In Isaiah 11 we see that the peace that God offers us will change nature. We see all of creation living together in harmony. This peace goes beyond God just caring for mankind; He gives peace to His creation. We lose our dependency on ourselves and become dependant on God. Consider the Sabbath, where does our daily bread come from? God provides enough.

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. Though it is also generally translated as a single word like peace, rest, favor, safe, health, welfare and prosperity, it has, as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states, "a basic meaning of totality or completeness including fulfillment, maturity, soundness, and wholeness."

Generally, peace in the Old Testament is the state that occurs when conflicts are resolved. In the New Testament peace is more an inner quality of those having been blessed through reconciliation with God, knowing His purpose and trusting in His authority over the affairs of mankind and their lives.

May you experience shalom, peace this Christmas.

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