Fourth Sunday of Advent - God's Peace

By Advent Reflections
December 20, 2015

St Paul's letter to the Philippians speaks of  "The peace of God, which passes all understanding, and that will keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of Jesus the Christ.”

This prayer is known and used by many Christians one used to end worship services or times of prayer and reflection.

First, it reminds us that the shalom or salaam (peace) of God is something that goes well beyond our limited notions of the absence of conflict.

God’s peace is about the restoration of relationships, harmony between people and the earth, and the reconciliation of all things in the divine purpose.

That is something we can only begin to imagine, but we can get a taste and a promise of it in even the most ordinary aspects of life.

The peace which Christ enfleshes for us is something that can only be shared in community, but which at the same time has to grow in our hearts and minds in order to be real and sustainable.

In that sense we are wise not to think of ourselves either as lone individuals or as part of some anonymous collective, but as persons-in-commune – unique people who need each other just as we need to the love of God to free us from enmity, rivalry and fear.

This is the costly peace that Jesus brings into the world for us. It is the knowledge founded on love rather than hubris.

Are we ready for it? What shall we do to honour and practise it?

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