Advent Calendar Door #21 – Jesus is…Prince of Peace

Posted: December 21, 2015 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

We have an extra YBA reflection to get in this week, so slightly earlier than normal, here is the meditation on the fourth candle, this time by by Rev Graham Ensor.

THE 4th CANDLE OF ADVENT

The fourth Candle of Advent is the candle of peace – which reminds me of two contrasting newspaper articles I read recently, both of which will be familiar to you.

One was by Donald Trump calling for, ‘a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on’.

The other was a posting on Facebook by Chris Herbert, a soldier who served in the British Army and lost his leg when a bomb went off next to his Land Rover in Basra, Iraq in 2007. He wrote:

Getting frustrated by some people expecting racism from me, because I got blown up. Here it is:

Yes. A Muslim man blew me up, and I lost my leg.

A Muslim man also lost his arm that day wearing a British uniform.

A Muslim medic was in the helicopter that took me from the field

A Muslim surgeon performed the surgery that saved my life

A Muslim Nurse was part of the team that helped me when I returned to the UK

A Muslim Healthcare Assistant was part of the team that sorted out my day to day needs in rehabilitation when I was learning to walk

A Muslim taxi driver gave me a free ride the first time I went for a beer with my Dad after I came home.

A Muslim doctor offered my Dad comfort and advice in a pub, when he didn’t know how to deal with my medicines and side effects.

As I reflected on those two stories during this fourth week in Advent it made me think that one of these men was a peacemaker, the other in all essence, a peace-breaker.

To be honest I find it astounding that Donald Trump wasn’t arrested for religious hate crime. His version of creating secure borders must come close to committing this offence. It certainly seems he knows nothing at all about peace – which many of you will know comes from the Hebrew word ‘shalom’, and means much more than stillness and harmony. It also incorporates ideas of wholeness and completeness, welfare and tranquility and refers not just to the wellbeing of individuals but also entire communities.

Of course during this season of Advent we recall the heavenly host bringing a message of peace. Luke tells us that angels appeared to shepherds on a hillside, saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to [all] men on whom his favour rests;’ meaning Christmas is the time when we especially remember how God works towards our wellbeing and wholeness which is the sum total of his peace. Presumably, thereafter, we’re called to reflect that peace in the way we respond to others; and by others I don’t just mean individuals, but whole communities, as per the definition of shalom; and by peace I don’t just mean stillness and harmony but wholeness and completeness, which Christians seek to do in a variety of different ways at Christmas, with the Bless Lebanon appeal being a positive addition in 2015.

As we travel around Yorkshire it’s so encouraging to hear positive stories of generosity in our Baptist network; of how together we’re making a difference in people’s lives, transforming communities, as we reflect the God of peace. It’s also appropriate at this point to say a big thank-you for your support of our sisters and brothers fleeing to Lebanon, who we trust will find a measure of ‘peace’ through our generosity.

As Advent leads into the season of Christmas may God grant us grace and strength to be peacemakers – like Chris Herbert, who through his posting reflects the generous God we all serve.

 

PEACE

Peace between neighbours,

Peace between kindred,

Peace between lovers,

In the love of the King of life.

 

Peace between person and person,

Peace between wife and husband,

Peace between woman and children,

The peace of Christ above all peace.

 

Bless, O Christ, my face,

Let my face bless, every thing;

Bless, O Christ, mine eye,

Let mine eye, bless all it sees.

 

Carmina Gadelica

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