Sunday, December 10, 2006,8:49 AM
Second Sunday of Advent - Reflections
Luke 2:13-14 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”


Peace seems to be popular this time of year. It’s safe to talk about peace during advent. Bring it up during the rest of the year and you get labeled (dismissed) as a liberal hippie who hates America, but as Christmas nears peace becomes respectable again. We hear it in Linus telling us the real meaning of Christmas straight from the KJV. We see it embroidered on pillows, illuminated with lights and glitter, and flashed on the television screen. It is part of the warm fuzzies of Christmas – Peace on Earth.

But what do our words really mean? To quote the prophet Bono –
“You hear it every Christmastime
When hope and history won't rhyme
So what's it worth?
This peace on Earth”
What are our words worth. What are we asking for? What is it we are caring about?

This Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Peace. Last week we talked about hope – hope that the light does shine in the darkness – that there is good in this world and it’s worth fighting for. It is hard to believe that another world is possible without that hope, but what is hope without action – what is faith without works?

If we do not work for peace then truly what are our words worth? It is ours to raise awareness, ours to sound the alarms, ours to push for change, ours to care for individual lives, ours to follow the way of Christ. Peace on earth requires action and awareness.

This weekend has been set aside as a Weekend of Prayer for Darfur. The violence continues to escalate there, women especially are targeted with violence and rape, and now aid workers are being killed. This is a genocide that is being likened to Rwanda and the Holocaust. If our words “peace on earth” mean anything we will care about peace in Darfur. We will care and take action.

During Advent we look to the incarnation of Christ Jesus. We long for his coming and rejoice in the new word, the new kingdom we ushers in. A Kingdom in which Hope and Peace are possible. Where the darkness does overcome the light and we are the ones working to dispel that darkness through peace. We sing at Advent -
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


To remind us that Peace is not just a cute Christmas phrase, I want to share two prayers. The first is the prayer of a Darfuri woman. The second is the prayer of St. Francis, recalling to us that peace begins with our actions.

Prayer from a Darfuri Woman
“I want to join my prayers to many other voices. Every few months we are driven away from one refugee camp to the other, so far in the desert where nothing, nothing at all exists. This is no way for a human being to live. No way to live in such a shocking place – uncultivated, waterless, treeless and barren region...! Everything is burning, Lord, around me, around us ... in me, in us ... Everything is barren, hell, hell...! Yet, Lord, we believe you are there, beside us. We pray for all the Africans living now our same condition. Bring back peace and tranquility to our beloved country. Peace which is desired by everybody, the old and young, rich and poor, women and men. Amen...amen...Let it be so.”
— © Gloria Silvano, Sudan / CAFOD


The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred ... let me sow love
Where there is injury ... pardon
Where there is doubt ... faith
Where there is despair ... hope
Where there is darkness ... light
Where there is sadness ... joy
Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled ... as to console
To be understood ... as to understand,
To be loved ... as to love
For it is in giving ... that we receive,
It is in pardoning ... that we are pardoned,
It is in dying ... that we are born to eternal life

Amen


If you want a reminder of what we need to work for, watch this.
U2 – Peace on Earth


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