-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Be still, and know that I am God.
This scripture is one of my favorite Christian songs. It’s sung in a round, and each level loses a word.
Peace, be still, and know that I am God.
Peace, be still, and know that I AM.
Peace, be still, and know.
Peace, be still.
As the words are lost, new meaning is gained. The sacrifice of words, for the understanding of faith.
This is how Advent Peace works. We have accepted our call to adventure in accepting God’s Hope. It means we must find peace with what can no longer be. Simply put- to go on a journey, it requires letting go.
We all want to skip this step. No one really likes tearful goodbyes, especially this time of year. Let me write the most important line of this meditation: Being at peace with loss is different than being calm or silent.
People have used the word “peace” to silence hope. Know that God’s peace will never silence God’s hope. God’s peace will always follow God’s hope. Therefore, God’s peace always seems a little more melancholy than the hope that preceded it. Peace is an acceptance of what can no longer be and a movement towards what could become. To come to terms with what can no longer be is vital to God’s process.
God’s peace is the most difficult step to accept in God’s plan.
I believe this is because, as Hope is accepting the call, Peace is actually moving towards it. You can’t move towards something without moving away from something else.
Movie reference time. In the movie Labyrinth, Sarah is forced to babysit her baby brother, subverting her own plans in the process. In her anger, she wishes the Goblin King would take her little brother. When he does, she willingly accepts her call to adventure to go on a journey to save her little brother. That was her hope, to save her brother from the Goblin King. Her peace doesn’t come until ¾ of the way through the movie when she meets the Junk Lady.
She hadn’t gone anywhere up to that point. Sure, she gained a few new friends, but she was still anchored to what she wanted before her call. The Junk Lady’s only purpose was to remind her what she had to let go of in order to move on. It almost worked, and in real life, it almost always works. Wanna thwart God’s plans? Just lay out what must be left behind to move on.
Worked on the newly freed Israelites. They wanted to go to the Promised Land, but they remembered how slavery had people to care for them and feed them. That was it, and it was enough to halt their journey. Then they had to spend a very long time unlearning what it meant to be a slave.
I submit that the second week of Advent is the darkest of the four weeks. It is the shadow of the Christmas light. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the beauty of shadows. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow. In relation to Advent, the bigger the Hope, the more intense the Peace will be.
Once Sarah was willing to let go of her past, she was allowed to really move towards her call. By giving her things to the literal garbage heap, she finally was able to move on. It took three-quarters of the movie, because she had to be ready to make that level of sacrifice, and that always takes time.
For us, we are moving towards a different kind of sacrifice: power turned on its head. The King’s power will be held by those around him. A Mother and Father; shepherds, and sheep.The call to smite the enemy will be transformed into love your enemy and pray for those who wronged you. There’s so much sacrifice in those words, and Christian Hope is built on that King. It's a huge Hope, and that means it’s a very intense Peace. During Advent we explore it for a week; it might take you weeks or even years. It cannot be skipped.