Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peace on Earth

While Ben has Uzi-infested dreams of slaughtering our resident rat (see last post), I have spent my week meditating on peace. Peace is the theme for the 2nd week of advent that began on Sunday, peace is the subject of my current read ("Seeking Peace" by Bruderhof-member Johann Christoph Arnold) and peace-building is a fundamental tenant of the Mennonite faith that I am so drawn to.

We're celebrating Advent with a group of friends here. After our most recent service I was sitting on our porch (currently festooned with blinking Christmas lights thanks to our landlord), thinking about peace and listening to gunshots across the valley. I realized that they (the gunshots) don't really startle me anymore. I guess I'm becoming desensitized to hearing them, at least from the relative safety of our porch.

So I'm thinking about advent, peace and gunshots and of the little group of us sharing prayers for peace... Knowing that someday there will be peace on earth, but in the meantime letting our hearts break in solidarity with everyone that is NOT experiencing peace in Port-Au-Prince or peace in Mumbai or in Georgia, Congo, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka....

And yet peace is so much more than simply the absence of war: Shalom implies wholeness, justice and love. It implies that we are more than just physically at peace with one another and with creation. I'm realizing that for any kind of peacebuilding to come out of my life, my own spiritual and inner peace is where I need to start.

I want to share with you the responsive prayer that we read together on Sunday as we lit our 2nd advent candle:
(note: Salaam is the Arabic word for peace)

Reader: Peace, peace they say, and yet there is no peace.

People: True peace is not achieved by building walls and loading guns, but by loving
one another.

Reader: We are called to be peacemakers.

People: Make us channels of your peace, O, Lord. For from you comes true peace.

Reader: We light this candle of peace to remind us that true peace is possible,
because in Jesus we are reconciled to God and to one another.

People: Even in a violent and hurting world we trust in your great love, which is
always stronger than our weaknesses, pride and fear.

Reader: O, Prince of Peace, come and grant the world your peace.

People: Salaam, salaam, salaam. Maranatha!

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