Sunday, December 5th
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for in the Lord God
you have an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NRSV)
Light the first candle of Hope and the second candle of Peace.
As I was looking up Bible verses about peace, I was surprised by this one, in which Jesus is telling his disciples:
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
~ John 16:33 (NRSV)
In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (the one I generally use), the word, persecution, surprised me. I had always recalled the verse as, “in the world you face tribulation.” So I began looking up other meanings in various translations, and also found trouble, suffering, both trouble and suffering together, and in my Greek to English translation, affliction. The variety of meanings blessed me with this thought: whether our trials come from persecution from others (ill-treatment, hostility, or harassment), or from trials and tribulations (concerns, misfortunes, burdens), or from our afflictions (pains, sufferings, hardships), Jesus is our peace.
Light the Christ candle.
Jesus overcomes every trouble of the world. Note that he does not say, “In the world you won’t have any more persecution.” In this world, troubles remain, but always the infinite peace of Christ can help us through them. The peace of Christ will overcome each trouble by healing our heartaches, soothing our hurts, clearing our tensions, quieting our fears, and always promising a better and brighter day.
How will we glow with the gentle peace of Christ this week? How will we light the way for those who need peace for their days? Let’s use our senses to remain attentive to the peace of Christ around and within us. Let’s use our favorite spiritual practices to enable God to fill us with peace. Our own peacefulness will deepen as we recognize and remember that we are never alone, no matter what troubles we face. May we each become rays of peace this week, as we sense and absorb the peace of Christ, then shimmer with that peace for others.
A Definition Prayer: Peace
Hush my frantic thoughts as I seek your peace in quietude and silence.
Calm my anxious spirit as I feel your peace in stillness and restfulness.
Ease my needless cares as I find your peace in contentment and serenity.
Hold my fearful worries as I receive your peace in comfort and security.
Release my self-centered concerns as I share your peace through harmony and goodwill.