I’ve been thinking a lot about peace lately.
I’ve been praying a lot FOR peace lately.
A couple of weeks ago, our president spoke before the nation and an audience at West Point to announce a surge in military personnel in Afghanistan. This on the heels of being named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Our hearts in contrast… are jaded and worn and disappointed.
The strange counterpoint of the Nobel Peace Prize and our current wars that tells us we cannot look for peace to come from any national leader.
There was no triumphant singing after Obama’s West Point speech… and while there may have been music in Oslo at the Nobel ceremonies, Obama’s own speech tempered any bit of joy and celebration. It has been a sobering reminder that they are not our saviors and that true peace only comes through Christ. No matter the obeisance paid to our president, he is not the one we are waiting for. He, nor any other leader within our world, is not our savior. He is not the Prince of Peace.
No, We are waiting for another.
The prophet Micah describes this one in this way:
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. (Micah 5:4-5)
Mary and Elizabeth and the child in Elizabeth’s womb cannot contain their joy as they encounter this promise of God – yet unborn. They have been longing and waiting and hoping for so long.
As Elizabeth greets and praises her cousin, she exclaims: Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.
Blessed is she who not only believed in a miraculous birth… but blessed is she who believes that this child is the fulfillment of what God has promised.
Blessed are we who hope and pray and wait and believe in what God has promised.
I know that it is hard to do. We live in a world of cynicism and violence, a world of confusion and hatred.
And yet, we come together as people of faith and we light the fourth candle on the advent wreath because we dare to believe that the Prince of Peace will reign.
We dare to hope that there will be day when nation will not rise up against nation.
We dare to wait for the day when the powerful are brought down from their thrones and the lowly are lifted up.
Steve Goodier, also tells the story of a monument in Hiroshimas Peace Park. This particular monument is in memory of a young girl who died from radiation-induced lukemia after the dropping of the bomb. After hearing a legend that a person who makes 1000 cranes will have their wish granted, she tried to fold 1000 paper cranes. As Steve tells it, “with each crane she wished that she would recover from her illness. She folded 644 cranes before she left this life.” The monument in memory of this young girl named Sadako reads: This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world.
Now as much as ever, our cry is for peace in the world.
That might be peace in Afghanistan, or peace between you and your neighbors. It might be peace among loved ones, or peace between you and your inner thoughts.
In this season of Advent, we stand in the face of war and suffering and distress and we look for the coming of peace. We stand like Elizabeth, pregnant with hope, that God’s promises are real.
The reality that we long for this and every Advent – The miracle that we wait for this and every Christmas – is that we might wake up one morning and run outside to discover that God is with us – Emmanuel – and that the Prince of Peace rules the earth.