1st Sunday in Advent: The Prophets and Peace

Today’s Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The focus of the sermon today was on the “awake” theme of the reading from Romans 13 and Matthew 24. The minister focused on the idea of advent as a season to… erm… stir us up and make us more alert in our faith. Though it mostly struck me with the talk of oversleeping, as I’ve a new job, and that’s a real fear at the moment! (that and the previously mentioned humerous use of language… but I digress).

But I thought about the reading from Isaiah a lot more this evening, especially watching collective’s tribe running around playing with toy guns and swords and playing at war games.

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the LORD!

That, especially that last bit, is something so desperately needed. As adults, we long for it, even when we can’t imagine how the world could possibly be at peace, let alone forseeing a way to achieve that. Some long for peace because they have seen war first hand, or have cared for those who return with scars in body and mind. Some feel a fierce indignation, a longing for justice, for all wrongs to be righted. Some despair, finding it all too fucked up and beyond any repair.

But my thinking this evening was much more prosaic and earthy… how do we pass that longing on to the next generation. In a culture where even most “goodies” and superheroes fight with weapons of great destructive force… how do we enthuse them about peace? Experiments so far include “The Dragon of Peace” (creative but not entirely popular), problem solving ways to avoid fighting over disagreements, and encouraging time out to relax and practically manage times of cranky temper (both of which are more matters of survival I think anyway!).

And then the Psalm, 122… all about peace within the city of God, “at unity with itself.” And I look at us all, the church, and I think God help us. But of course he will, so that’s something.

Any constructive comments from the world wide web on peaceful children, world peace and peace and unity within the church gratefully received. To be honest, so few people read this anyway, I’ll probably be grateful even if they’re not constructive… or even if they’re from a spambot… Fishing, so I’ll stop now.

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