Finding Faith: We can't bring about peace by ourselves
"The inner peace that Jesus promised the faithful pulled us away from our fears of scarcity, a root motivator initiating our domination instinct over others, and helped us to realize that our neighbors were actually part of the same great big body of believers."
As we celebrate the second week of Advent this Sunday, we focus on peace.
The kind of peace offered only by the kind of king never previously heard of in the history of humankind.
Jesus wasn’t a despotic, blood-thirsty, warrior king, set on vengeance for an unfaithful people here on earth. Quite the contrary actually. Jesus came as a ruler of a kingdom founded in peace and love, a concept unfathomable to people who’d only known generations of “rule or be ruled” empires.
Rather, Jesus aimed for a nonviolent revolution that created peace within ourselves and with our neighbor.
The inner peace that Jesus promised the faithful pulled us away from our fears of scarcity, a root motivator initiating our domination instinct over others, and helped us to realize that our neighbors were actually part of the same great big body of believers.
And so, if our eternal salvation is assured, and we no longer need to worry about the scarcity of anything, then at last we could be at peace with ourselves AND our neighbors. … A glorious glimpse of what the heavenly kingdom must be!
“In his time may the righteous flourish; and let there be an abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.” (Psalm 72:7)
It’s understandable to be uneasy in our current times. We are living among rancorous national divisions, unexpected high prices that are straining family budgets, wars overseas that threaten global stability, extreme ecological threats and the list of concerns goes on.
I even would understand if you find yourself asking: “Peace? … What peace!”
But I would counter that is exactly why we focus on peace in the second week of Advent! Because we humans can't expect to bring about peace by ourselves. We often are too self-indulgent and too selfish to see the needs of our neighbor, be they next door or halfway around the world.
And so we must rely on the peace that only God provides. God’s peace helps us to see others with a “heaven-inspired” filter, in today’s parlance.
We can’t possibly see the divine kingdom because we’re too busy gettin’ what is ours. But thanks to God’s divine love and peace, we are offered a chance to see our earthly kingdom through new eyes. We are offered a glimpse of how beautiful the heavenly kingdom is, even if our earthly kingdom isn’t there yet!
As people of faith — any faith! — it is we who must confidently believe in the peace offered to us from the divine, regardless of the name we use for God.
That is the opportunity that the second week of Advent offers us: An opportunity to live into the hope of peace right here on earth, simultaneously as we await the coming wonder of the heavenly kingdom. Hallelujah!