8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.[a]
With war always looming on the horizon, I wish that the whole world would hear words of peace. We must make God very sad with all the hatred and violence that goes on in the world some of the worst of it in the name of God. Even his faithful people don’t hear his voice. None of us are exempt.
The Hebrew word shalom means fullness having everything you need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s easy to be peaceful when you have everything you need. That’s where the world’s problems are. Not everyone has what they need much less what they want.
Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If I want my neighbor to be happy and fulfilled as much as I want that for myself then things will be good.
Frederick Buechner says “for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”
Prayer: Lord God of peace, let us grow in love toward you and our neighbor until wars cease and shalom rains. Support us with your Holy Spirit and surround us with your love, now and forever. Amen
The 23rd Psalm has so much wisdom. We seldom stop to think about it. We just recite it because we have done it so often. Tonight I have been thinking about this part of it.
Psalm 23: 4 NRSV
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d] I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
or from The Message
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
I have always wondered about the rod and staff. In our time that image didn’t mean much. Now I see it as someone strong and caring walking with me….someone who will keep me safe no matter what. Walking with God I have no fear.
Ephesians 4:31-32New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
No matter what harm befalls us our God is always near. Picture arms wrapped around you and tears being wiped from your face. Know that you are loved. Feel the presence of the Lord. In his arms there is peace and comfort.
a very present[a] help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
God is present. He is always with us. We can take refuge in Him. We have nothing to fear no matter what happens. Don’t be afraid but depend on God.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.1 John 2:2
A quiet day. Jesus is in the tomb. It is all over. His body was taken down and wrapped for burial. On this day he is gone. Take time on Holy Saturday to pause and think about what sort of day it was for the disciples.
Prayer: “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” Taize
Peace may not be that place of calm that we expect. It may be managing in the midst of the storm. God’s peace can allow us to cope when we don’t think we can. Remember he was the one who calmed the water for his disciples. It may not be the water he calms for us but our minds and hearts.
It is a night prayer from the liturgy “Night Prayer” from the New Zealand Prayer Book. I have long love the prayer and have shared it before but it fits advent perfectly and is worth sharing again. I use it every night before sleep. Peace be with you.
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
Prayer can be difficult for us at times. We have heard so many comments about how to pray that we can find ourselves feeling inadequate. There are so many ways to pray and any prayer is heard no matter what.
Recently I have used the book Praying in Color and am enjoying a new prayer style to add to my list. I am no artist but using our hands, eyes and mind seems to help us focus.
Gracious Lord, help us to pray in every way possible…with our voice, with our minds, with our hands and any other way. AMEN
If you would like to try this the book is available on Amazon.