-Pastor Melissa Fain-
3 A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 40:3-5 NRSV
Did you know for one Christmas eve night during World War I, there was a pause in the fighting?
Dec 24, 1914: In France, the British and Germans were cold, wet, and tired. Trench warfare had turned a quick war into a drawn-out mess. The German side, wanting to keep the sacred celebration of Christ’s birth, decorated trees that night. Then, they began singing “Stille Nacht,” or in English, “Silent Night.” After they finished, the German’s cheered. In response, the British sang the English version of the carol.
Throughout the night, along the 500 miles of the Western Front, pockets of soldiers stopped fighting. They wished one another Merry Christmas, as enemies became friends for just one Christmas Eve.
Peace is not the lack of action. Peace is not silence. Peace is often the brave first steps of singing with the enemy; of acting when everything says you should stay still. The most courageous people in the world are people of peace.
Question: In what ways can you show active peace in your life?
Prayer: Dear God, in the middle of chaos, help us be bringers of peace. Amen.
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-Rev Melissa Fain-
I was nineteen or twenty years old. Communion had just been passed and I was praying as we waited for everyone else to get their elements. This was and is normal for me. My deepest prayers take place moments before we partake of the body and blood. If I were to be honest with myself, this is why I used to like to sitting up front as a congregant.. Communion comes to me at the beginning, and it gives me more time to pray.
Anyway, that morning I prayed to be given something that I could give to someone else. (This was also how I used to pray. It was vague, and searched for calling.) It was after we took communion that my hands felt like they were super charged. A strong feeling of purpose overcame me. The next person I hugged would get this power.
For the remainder of worship I sat with my hands palm up, It was an intense feeling, and one that hasn't been repeated to this day. As the closing prayer came to it's "Amen," I began to look around for the recipient of this special hug. Everyone around me looked content, and busy. No one particularly looked like they needed support, all except one. One of my friend's, his mother looked broken and lost. She was the one.
As I approached her, she saw me. Then she, without any words or thoughts, hugged me.
I felt the energy drain from my hands as I hugged back.
I realized in that moment, that God's call is often to do something, but it's not our place to choose who to do it for. I was disarmed that day, in more than one way. I felt power, and I held it, but it wasn't mine to keep or choose how it was going to be used.
We are called, as a people of God, to be continually disarmed. God's power is a form of servitude, Where the leader is called to wash the feet of the followers, and die for their sake. We can't possibly live up to that example, but we can emulate it the best we know how, by being instruments of God's peace.
May God disarm all of us this new year, and may that disarming bring God's power to those who need it most.
Dragon School Oxford:
We have a new daily prayer for Advent. It focuses on one of Augustine's confessions.
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