I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
~ Psalm 120:7
This morning I am reminded that the world just seems to be in a state of chaos. Fires in California and Australia, earthquakes and volcanoes rumbling, storms raging, and the thought of war on the minds of many. The headlines flash before us, and eight-second sound bytes open with the words, "Breaking News."
While Mary and Joseph did not have CNN broadcasting from the front steps of Herod's palace, they did have an angel that told them that they must flee to Egypt. Herod, in the final years of his life, would order the slaughter of every newborn child in the kingdom. An act that many today, and then, saw as barbaric to the core.
It was a painful reality for Mary and Joseph, and this was the world that Jesus was born into.
I would like to think that since the birth of Jesus, that peace somehow would find a way to prevail on earth, but here we find ourselves, looking to headlines, and wondering where the next act of violence will occur.
Nearly two years ago I sat with a mother in a school where a shooter had killed eight students and two teachers and wounded thirteen others. Her daughter was one of the survivors, but on that day, the extent of her wounds were unknown. I just remember sitting with her, as she rocked back and forth on a bench, waiting for her two other children to be dismissed from school so that she could take them with her, like a mother hen drawing all her chicks to safety, she kept saying, "Why do we keep doing this to one another?"
The Psalmist writes, "I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war."
The writer of the Psalm, King David, cannot make sense of why it is that the people want war. Even Jesus, the child that Mary and Joseph must protect by becoming refugees in a nation that once held the Hebrew people as slaves, is called the, "Prince of Peace."
The inner peace that Jesus offers is the very thing that we all seek. I will agree that there are many situations in the world that can cause us to be frightened, and many people experience anxiety because of the world around us. More than ever our faith must sustain us. The season of Advent and Christmas remind us that the Kingdom of God begins with faith, hope, joy and above all things, peace. Hope is not optimism, and I pray that we all find that we can live hopefully in the midst of what seems to be apocalyptic times, as many of the headlines declare.
We must remember God's faithfulness, even when we find ourselves surrounded in doubt and fear. I am reminded that even Paul declares, “Our hope is not deceptive because the Holy Spirit has already been poured into us” (Romans 5:5).
Let us not just speak of peace, but let us pray for peace throughout the world today and always.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.