Sunday Reflection: Peace

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Reading John 1: 10-18 He was in the world, but the world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognize him.  He came to his own, and his own people would not accept him.  But to those who did accept him, to those who put their trust in him, he gave the right to become Children of God, born not of human stock, by the physical desire of a human father, but of God.  So the Word became flesh; he made his home among us, and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.  

This past week…weeks, months…have given us pause.  What we’re experiencing may be summed up in these words someone said to me yesterday: who closes church the week of Christmas?  

Indeed.  Who closes churches the week of Christmas?  

Nothing this year has gone the way it’s supposed to.  We have innuermerable whys, whos, hows, whens, and whats this year.  Innumerable “not fairs”.   

This has become a year of grief, pain, loss, suffering, hopelessness, waiting, and a longing.  A longing for things to…

A longing for things to be the way they are supposed to be.  

Longing.  

Longing.  

Advent represents a time of waiting.  It also can be summed up as a Longing in the Dark

What are we longing for in the dark?  What is not the way it is supposed to be? Why are things not the way it is supposed to be?

There are many ways we can make a difference.  There are ways we can’t.  Perhaps our mantra of the year could be The Serenity Prayer:

Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other. (Niebuhr)

A longing for things to be the way they are supposed to be.  

He was in the world, but the world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognize him.  He came to his own, and his own people would not accept him.  

Jesus was born in terrible times.  Times when ego and power held sway over Good.  His people were expecting a King.  His people were expecting the sword.  A warrior.  They got a baby Jesus.  He was not recognized. He was not accepted.  

Jesus was not what was expected.  He wasn’t what was supposed to happen.  He came…a Mystery.  

Can we embrace the Mystery?  The Mystery of Jesus?  The Mystery of the Season?  The Mystery of the birth?  The Mystery of the Longing in the Dark?  

(poem)

The Mystery.  

Can we dream of peace on earth and goodwill toward men?  Can we dedicate ourselves to that?  Can we embrace the Mystery and become instruments of Peace and love.  

There are so many things we can not understand.  It’s the Mystery of the Word.  

The Mystery of being.  Maybe things will be clear when we look back.  Maybe things won’t.  For some, the story of Christ’s birth is clear.  For some, it’s clear as mud.  Regardless of what we understand, it is a Mystery.  A beautiful Mystery to be embraced, despite it not being what it was supposed to be.  Or, perhaps because it was not what it was supposed to be.  

Jesus is a Light for our Longing in the Dark.  

They are all looking for a king 
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou Cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
–George MacDonald

Closing Blessing: M. Wierderkehr

Make of me a faithful vigil in the heart of darkness, I want to be a sentinel through all the dark hours.   When the deep darkness falls, let me be your star.  Name me one who watches through the night.  Reveal to me the holiness of lingering with Mystery.  Employ me in the holy art of waiting.  Amen

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