For the 2nd Sunday in Advent and the Week Following
Have you ever been so hungry for something that you can almost taste it? I have been told that I get a little grumpy or “hangry” when I am hungry. I have come to realize that it is also true of me when I am hungry for things like justice and peace. The problem with being “hangry” for peace is that eating a samosa or chocolate bar won’t take the hunger pains (or the resulting mood) away. In fact, being “hangry” for justice and peace is one of the costs of Christian discipleship. But in order to not be totally unbearable and to have the energy to persevere in the quest for justice and peace, I must eat something or the journey will become too long. I survive on a diet of faith (in God’s promises for a commonwealth of peace), hope (in God’s workers who are continually building this kin-dom), and love (for God, my neighbour, and myself). But until God’s will is done, on earth as it is in heaven, we who seek peace will always be hungry.
Where do you find peace? As a symbol for peace, this Advent Unwrapped video for 2015 used the image of a nest that is built slowly by birds using small, interwoven pieces. The nest sits precariously on a branch. The branch is reminiscent of the prophecy in Isaiah that “a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Our hope for peace hangs on that branch: the stronger our hope, the less precarious our peace is.
What symbol would you use to tell the story of peace? What is your understanding of peace? Who would you share peace with? And, if you were personally looking for peace, where would you expect to find it?
Play and Ponder
Select one of the following ideas to work with over the course of the week:
- Explore the Advent Peace Box campaign.
- Create a prayer map: Get a large map (of your workplace, your community, your surrounding area, or the world). Mark all of the places that you are connected to. Be creative; the list could include place of origin, family ancestor, where your dinner came from, where your clothing was made, where your favourite movie was filmed. Over the next week, add places as you hear, learn, or interact with them. Pray for all of these areas, and give thanks for the fact that we are global citizens whose lives interconnect.
- We are told that it is the wisdom of a child that will lead us to peace. Watch the video “Lead India: The Tree”. Can you think of areas in your life where you are be being invited to follow someone’s lead? Are you called to take the lead yourself?
Choose one or more of these prayers for daily use over the course of the week.
Memorize this scripture:
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
(breath in) God of Peace, (breath out) guard my heart.
The Prayer of Jesus
Graces and Blessings
(Note: Next week is the 3rd Sunday in Advent, and we shall explore the theme of Joy.)
Waiting with you,
Alydia Smith is Program Coordinator, Worship, Music, and Spirituality for The United Church of Canada.