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Peace that surpasses understanding

by davesandel on December 17th, 2012

Peace that surpasses understanding

Monday, December 17, 2012

Third Week of Advent

Psalm 72:17

May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun.  All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.

It isn’t easy for me to sustain this hope in the face of evil.  As I lose my child to a strangely silent gunman, suddenly appearing in the kindergarten classroom, my anguish knows no bounds.  Nothing will bring my baby back.

Whether it’s my baby or yours, we are all broken.  We are all in a shambles, and there is no consolation. At Sandy Hook Elementary, in Syria, in Jerusalem, in Kandahar and in many silent corners around the world, there are inconsolables.

What is there to say?  A devotion last week from the Henri Nouwen Society gave it a try:

The marvelous vision of the peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9), in which all violence has been overcome and all men, women and children live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realization in our day-to-day lives.  Instead of being an escapist dream, it challenges us to anticipate what it promises.  Every time we forgive our neighbor, every time we make a child smile, every time we show compassion to a suffering person, every time we arrange a bouquet of flowers, offer care to tame or wild animals, prevent pollution, create beauty in our homes or gardens, and work for peace and justice among peoples and nations we are making the vision come true.

We must remind ourselves constantly of the vision.  Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are.  Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.

Nouwen wants us to be passionate and active, but this is only possible when the vision “comes alive in us.”  I don’t bring that life; God does.  And then it’s my place to receive it, and let it grow as it is made to grow.

Jesus, in your first words to the people, you made this service and sharing and sacrifice your manifesto.  There is nothing but for us to do the same, and follow you down and down and down into the deepest joy.

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