Advent: Persistent Peace
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.”
Matthew 3:1-12 CEB
-Rev Melissa Fain-
Five years ago yesterday I wrote these words:
"Predestination is the path God has chosen for us. Freewill is opportunity to follow God's path or mess up the paths destined for us. God gives us peace and we create wars. God gives us love and we create turmoil."
I wrote it in an effort to understand conflict and strife. I don't know if you got the memo, but the world isn't all peace and love. Some really bad things happen.
I grew up a broken individual, and not realizing it until I was in seminary. I was spiritually and mentally fearful of speaking up. I had such a huge fear of being rejected, I just kept my mouth shut. When I finally entered seminary I discovered my fear grew out of my brokenness. I knew I needed to find my voice if I were to become a minister.
At first, I wrote everything down. Journalling was my friend. Yet, I found the double-edged sword in journals. While I was writing down ideas and thoughts so I could reflect on them later, I wasn't speaking up when I disagreed. At a younger age I considered my silence to be an act of peace. That is not peace.
I've come to see peace as following the path God has destined for us. When we head in that direction, we find peace. When we don't follow, someone or something gets hurt. Peace is not always nice. Peace does not always feel good. Peace sometimes means bringing order to chaos, and that is work. It means letting the people know they are living in the chaos. I don't know about you, but I haven't met the person yet who seems very receptive to hearing their lives are no longer ordered. I know for me, it wasn't a pleasent experience to discover my own woundedness and brokeness. I had to see the personal war within myself before I could find my inner peace. To put it another way, I had to know where I was before I could map out my destination.
This season, search for the work that must happen to find peace. Search for the brokeness to find the the path to wholeness. Search for peace.
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