(Advent 2A) 1Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. 2May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. 3May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. 4May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. 5May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. 7In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
18Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 19Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen. (Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19)
So, are you awake yet? Our first week of Advent has been filled with visions of what can be, visions of what God is calling us to be. And it has awakened us to its possibility if we will only pay attention. So as the rising light begins to illuminate us, we begin to look around at what needs to change. And today, we light the candle of peace. We all dream of peace. But it seems that we have quit talking about it. Our talk of peace has become talk of policy and self-preservation. Our discussions have dwindled to what is best for us rather than prayers for peace for the world. Have we forgotten peace? Or have we given up on its possibility? Or are we so desperately afraid of losing what we have that it is easier to build our walls and secure our borders and wait for someone else to make it happen?
Peace has always been a little elusive. Maybe it’s because we don’t understand it. Maybe we are waiting for someone to put their weapons down first so that we will feel safe enough to disarm. But that’s not peace. That’s just putting weapons down. They are still there. They can still be picked up yet again. Peace is not just the absence of war; peace is recognition that we are fighting ourselves. Until we realize that we are all one, until we realize that the “other” is our brother or sister, until we realize that shutting each other out of our lives does not mean that we are at peace, we will still live lives of dis-ease and distrust and disunity.
Peace will not come to be because we sign an arms agreement or because we successfully disarm our enemies or even ourselves. Peace cannot be sanctioned or governed or even agreed upon. There is no policy on global relations that will produce peace. Peace will not be between nations or tribes or even peoples. Peace will come when each of us is at peace, when each of us feels the reverence of looking at a world that is not ours but one over which we have dominion, responsibility. Peace will not come because one person thinks he or she can save us or fix us or put us back together again but rather when we realize that none of us are alone and that God is calling a Kingdom into being rather than each individual at a time. Peace will come when we realize that we are so incredibly interconnected that hurting another is hurting ourself. Peace will come when we finally see God’s very presence in each others’ lives.
Peace lives in each of us. But we have to be at peace with ourselves to find it. So, as we light the second candle today, be at peace. Today. In this moment. Walk in peace. Reach out in peace. Sleep in heavenly peace…
Our true home is in the present moment. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment. Peace is all around us–in the world and in nature–and within us–in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Grace and Peace,