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  • Wade Paton

Longing for Peace


READ

Micah 5:2-5a NIV

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace...


REFLECT

Sometimes it feels like the story of humanity is primarily about conflict and enmity. As one war draws to a close, two or three more violent clashes begin. We fail to live into our calling to be stewards of creation and end up being locked in a relentless struggle for dominance over nature. We fight. We demand. We resist. Our communities and homes become environments of discord and angst instead of places of harmony and oneness, and we can always find someone else to blame for what we are lacking. Day after day, news story after news story, we are bombarded with reminders that there is a hunger in our world, and in us, for something better than violence, division and ‘winning’.


We are hungry for peace. And not just a peace that is the absence of conflict. We long for shalom. For fullness of life, where we are content and satisfied to the point that we have no desire at all to take from another for our own personal wants or needs. Ever since the first humans made the choice to abandon God’s gift of shalom and try their own way, peace has been very hard to find. It is what we’re longing for to break us free from the discord the torments us, but we often don’t know where to even begin.


The prophet Micah, more than 2500 years ago, was given a word from God to speak over a community that was rampantly corrupt, boldly unjust, and out of sync with their Creator.


The message was clear. The prophet spoke then, and through the Spirit to us now, that the invitation to live in shalom with God, each other, ourselves and all of creation is not a fairy tale or fantasy. Through the one who would be born in Bethlehem, shalom would return, and through this Prince of Peace, the discord would be resolved.


We light the peace candle to remember that Jesus has come to not only show us the way to peace but to be our peace. In the days of discord, we choose now to find shalom in Jesus.

RESPOND

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where you might be lacking peace in your life.

CONFESS

Name your discord. Write down the specifics – memories, words, phrases, lies, attitudes.

LISTEN

Spend 5 minutes in silence with the following posture:

Jesus, I wait for your peace.

REPENT

Take some time to submit your discord. Be specific.

Jesus, I give you my discord.

ADORE

Allow Jesus to make the exchange of your discord for his peace.


Read Psalm 46 in a posture of gratitude and adoration.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]


There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.


Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields[d] with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.



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