Wednesday Chapel: Peace

Family Advent Time for December 6

Welcome back to Wednesday Chapel. We introduced this series of special ideas for Advent family time last week, and we’ll keep posting them on Wednesdays throughout December.

Peace

Gather around your Advent Centre or move it to a table or space on the floor. Add the second Advent candle, or write “peace” on the single candle. Have matches and your special symbol for peace on hand. Find out the names of the Traditional Indigenous territory and Nations/Bands connected to the area where you live or where your church is located for the “Showing Peace” section. Check out the website and the United Church’s guide, Acknowledging the Territory in Worship [PDF]. Decide who will do what in your Family Advent Time.

Gathering

We remember our first Advent candle, the candle that represents Hope. (light Hope candle, or wait if there is a single candle)
And now we light the second Advent candle, the candle of Peace. (light Peace candle)
In the light of the flame, we wonder about peace.
In the light of the flame, we wait for Jesus to be born.
In the light of the flame, we see one another and know that God is with us.

Storytelling and Wondering

Have you ever been ready to go out for a special occasion and then you spill ketchup on your white shirt, or you trip and fall in the snow and get your clothes wet? When we are getting ready for something special—like Christmas—we often hurry and get ourselves in a mess. We have to pause, turn around, and clean things up. A long time ago, there was a man who talked about getting ready for Jesus. The story is from the book of Mark (Mark 1:1–8) and it’s about getting ready for the grownup Jesus. The man was called John the Baptist, because he baptized people. He didn’t used a bowl of water; he baptized people in a river. Yes, he dunked them right under! John lived in the wilderness, wore strange clothes, and ate strange food. But he was God’s messenger, preparing the way for Jesus. John told people they needed to repent, come to the river to be baptized, and be forgiven. And many people did just that! The word “repent” literally means to turn around: to turn away from doing wrong and toward doing right. Repenting isn’t just saying sorry and forgetting about it. It is knowing that doing wrong is hurting others and even yourself, and making sure you don’t do it again. Repenting is about giving and receiving forgiveness. And it means fixing the wrong—like repairing something that is broken, or cleaning up a mess—whether it’s a thing or a relationship. I wonder how we can turn around toward kindness, compassion, generosity. I wonder how turning around can make peace. I wonder how we can turn around, build peace, and get ready for Jesus.

A Special Symbol

It’s time to get the symbol that makes us think about peace. What is it about this object that makes us think about peace? Let’s pass it around, talk about it, and then add it to our Advent Centre.

Showing Peace this Week

Print on a piece of paper: “We live on the Traditional lands of the ….” Post the paper on the fridge to remind everyone about the Indigenous peoples in Canada, the first peoples on this land. Look for age-appropriate children’s books about residential schools at your local library, book store, or online. Here are a few that were suggested the Lent/Easter 2017 issue of Gathering; we’ve added a link to those that are available through United Church Resource Distribution.

Picture Books

  • Arctic Stories by Michael Kusugak (Annick, 1998)
  • Kookum’s Red Shoes by Peter Eyvindson (Pemmican, 2015)
  • A Promise Is a Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak (Annick, 1988)
  • Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell (Groundwood, 2008)
  • SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose (Kids Can, 2000)
  • The Give-Away by Ray Buckley (Abingdon, 1999)
  • We Feel Good Out Here: Zhik gwaa’an, nakhwatthaiitat gwiinzii (The Land Is Our Storybook) by Julie-Ann Andre and Mindy Willett (Fifth House, 2008)
  • When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Annick, 2013)

For Older Children

  • No Time to Say Goodbye: Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School by Sylvia Olsen (Sono Nis, 2011)
  • A Stranger at Home: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Annick, 2011)
  • Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens by Ruby Slipperjack (Scholastic Canada, 2016)

Singing an Advent Song

Sing the following to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” choosing whether to sing softly or loudly, slow or fast, smooth or bouncy.

Peace, peace, peace for you, peace for you today.
Jesus comes to bring you peace. Peace for you today.

Peace, peace, peace for me, peace for me today.
Jesus comes to bring me peace. Peace for me today.

Peace, peace, peace for all, peace for all today.
Jesus comes to bring us peace. Peace for all today.

Waiting Prayer

(Invite everyone to stand for the prayer and turn around at the end of each sentence.)    

God of peace, today we pray for peace for…. (Pass the Peace symbol to the person speaking. A person not wishing to speak will say “Pass.”)

While we wait, help us to get ready. Help us to turn away from wrong and turn toward your way of peace. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(All blow out the candle or candles together.)

Donalee Williams is in ministry with the congregation of Fort McMurray First United Church and she enjoys delightful and creative ways of sharing God’s good news. 

Posted in Family, Peace