Advent - Peace
The first Sunday of Advent we focused on HOPE. The second Sunday of Advent, commencing December 10, focuses us toward PEACE. This often is communicated in multiple ways. And discussion in these areas as to what kind of PEACE we are gifted with as disciples of Christ is vitally important as we seek to follow the "Prince of Peace". The first concept understood by followers of Jesus is personal peace. This idea to is understood in private individual categories. The second is within a local community of followers of Jesus. This emphasis highlights the need for ongoing conflict resolution, relational forgiveness and mercy, and the communal emphasis of loving "one another" as disciples of Christ. The third is to emphasise how we live in peace with others with whom we have worldview differences. In a pluralist society such "peace" has been emphasised in terms of tolerance. This concept needs serious consideration if we are to be serious followers of Jesus while living at peace with other persons with whom we disagree at foundational worldview levels. The fourth area of understanding our call to peace is related to our response to governmental action ranging from care for marginal persons to immigration policy to environmental concerns to military action. We cannot avoid considering Jesus the Prince of Peace if we do not engage what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in each of these four areas. Overall I would suggest we in the communities of faith have emphasised the first understanding that "peace" is all about our individual relationship with God. But as followers of Christ we must consider what it means to understand the peace" that Christ calls SHALOM is the Hebrew word. And the ultimate gift of the coming of God in the Incarnation is to reflect on what it means that the "creating Word" was sent of the Creator God in the power of the Spirit to inaugurate "New Creation" A "second Adam" has entered history. Jesus is the true image of God, inaugurating through the ACT of the Triune God a new life of becoming like God. In the first Century Incarnation Jesus entire life including his reign since his ascension into the present constantly seeks to fulfil what Shalom means in Hebrew and Christian understanding. This involves peace, dignity and concern for the inclusion of others amid a broken world; harmony shaped by hospitable truth-telling in the midst of chaos; ,wellbeing where poverty of all kinds dominates; reconciliation where there is conflict; welfare, tranquility and concern for the marginal challenging the dominance of "power grabbing"; concern for humility in truth-telling discussions between communities.... Celebrating Advent's focus on peace calls us into an awareness of the Creator's Triune ACT into the world. It calls us toward emotional security, serious examination of how we act in hope, and a celebration of the fact that the Creator in Advent calls us to recognise we can never be maintainers of a "broken status quo" if we are called to become like Jesus. The vocation of being a "people of peace" calls us to enact living in our world in ways that will be hospitable to all while seriously challenging the world where persons are excluded from the knowledge that Jesus reigns inaugurating "new creation". The peace Jesus calls us into moves way beyond tolerance into radical truth telling hospitality. This second week of Advent is a time to consider what this means personally, communally and as agents of the Kingdom of God within a world that too often has not heard of the Good News of Jesus reign from we Christians.
I started following Jesus in 1972 while a journalist for The Courier Mail. I moved overseas in 1977 living in China, the USA, the UK for a little under 30 years. I returned to Australia in 2005. I love being among the nations. I love study. I love encouraging the coming generations.