Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Vigil - Week Four

Jesus Promised as our Prince of Peace

In the first week of Advent, we remembered that Jesus comes as our Wonderful Counselor – Pure Wisdom. In the second week of Advent we celebrated that He comes as Mighty God – the omnipotent creator of all. In the third week, we considered that He comes to us as Everlasting Father – the source of all life.

In this last week of Advent, we embrace Him as the Prince of Peace.

Living in a world that is so full of strife, who of us hasn’t longed for peace? The Hebrew word for peace, however, means much more than the absence of conflict or the end of turmoil. Shalom conveys a deep sense of tranquility, wholeness and completion. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. puts it this way…

“We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight…the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”

Bill Risinger says it this way… When the heavenly host said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14), we should have heard in this the news of hope. When peace was announced at Christmas, it was the coming of the transformation of the world from the way it’s not supposed to be into “the way things ought to be.” God was bringing Shalom to the world!

Christmas brought the good news that the Prince of Shalom had come to conquer sin and death and to establish His Kingdom on earth. This gives us real hope in the here and now. We are not waiting for pie-in-the-sky future stuff. While we wait for the return of our King Jesus to bring the final restoration of ultimate Shalom, we must move obediently with His Spirit to bring His Shalom Kingdom into our broken and needy world.

Scripture Reading
As you meditate on these Scriptures this week, remember that these were written by people who were familiar with great hardship and persecution. Some were even murdered for proclaiming this kind of shalom.

Monday – Phil 4:5-7; Tuesday – Jn 14:27; Wednesday – James 3:16-18;
Thursday – Col 3:14-16; Christmas Day – Eph 2:14, 17-18

As you pray this week, ask yourself “what are the broken areas in my world that need His Shalom?” Then invite him to speak His Shalom into those situations. Ask Him to use YOU as an instrument of His Peace.

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, speak Your shalom into our chaos. May Your deep shalom rule in our hearts, bringing wholeness to our brokenness. Teach us to become peacemakers – loving justice, doing right, and leading others along the path of peace.

You may also want to use this prayer, by St. Francis of Assisi, as a part of your daily prayers this week.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O 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,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

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