Come, Connect, Be Inspired!!!
Our vision is to transform and revitalize the Ardglen/Orenda community in Brampton, bringing hope to its residents and helping children, youth and families to take positive steps in their lives. This vision is realized through: Relevant Programs, Transforming Properties, Advocating for Residents.
If you prefer to watch, rather then read this just click the link to my YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/eCQ_YUu_LTI
This is the second of a four-week Advent series. Advent didn’t start out as a four-week preparation for Christmas. If you go back to the fourth century the focus wasn’t on Jesus’ first arrival as a baby, but on the anticipation of his return at the end of days. There was this desire for the return of the Prince of Peace and this week’s theme is Peace.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. – Jeremiah 6:14
If you look up the definition of war, most dictionaries state it something like this: “a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation.” In an article on war and peace in the New York Times, they added the caveat of at least 1,000 deaths to their definition. So, by their definition of a conflict that has at least 1,000 deaths, the world has been at total peace for 268 years out of the last 3,400 years, or in other words just 8% of the time in the last 3,400 years have we been at peace.
I grew up in the 60s and into the 70s. Those were the years of a great cultural youth revolution. And, one of the defining anthems of the age, was found in the lyrics of a song, “All we are saying, is just give peace a chance.” We talk a lot about peace, yet we wage very little of it.
One of the titles given to Jesus in Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming Messiah is the “Prince of Peace”. The Hebrew word we translate as peace is shalom. Shalom has a complex set of meanings and none of them are the absence of war. Shalom means - peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. While the absence of war is certainly a factor in peace, the peace of shalom is far deeper and not dependant upon the conditions in which we live. In other words, the peace of shalom is one that is within us. When that shalom peace bridges between individuals, communities and nations it is mutual, permanent and it transcends any kind of misalignment or disagreement.
The peace that we anticipate when we look for and long for from the Prince of Peace is something far deeper then the absence of conflict. It is a peace that heals, makes complete and whole. It is a peace that transcends our circumstances. In fact, it creates new circumstances for us, even in the midst of what seems to be a never ending, never changing world.
Nelson Mandela stated:
Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste, or any other social markers of difference. Religion, ethnicity, language, social and cultural practices are elements which enrich human civilization, adding to the wealth of our diversity. Why should they be allowed to become a cause of division, and violence? We demean our common humanity by allowing that to happen. - Global Convention On Peace and Nonviolence - January 31, 2004
A fundamental aspect of shalom is completeness. Shalom transcends our circumstances, our feelings, our desperation, our needs, desires and wants. It is a cure for our perpetual desire for more and our ingratitude for what we do have. It is the antidote for this constant dissatisfaction and longing that our culture sows into our souls. The Shalom peace is our completion. When we are complete there is a satisfaction within our soul that enables us to transcend the petty prejudices that can well up within us. These prejudices that lead to conflict over the very diversity that Mandela says we should embrace.
There is no great theological basis for what I am about to say, but I like that Jesus is the Prince and not the King of Peace. A prince is a king in waiting. As we continue to wait for the Coming of Jesus this Advent season, we also await the peace that comes with him.
Let me concluded with a blessing that Jesus bestowed upon his disciples, just before his arrest:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. - John 14:27 (NIV)
The Journey has just published its 2020 Annual Report. If you would like to read it, or any of our latest Updates, just click here: #reports" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">http://www.thejourneyneighbourhoodcentre.ca/life/about-us/#reports