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Advent Reflections: Day 9, praying for peace

I feel like I’m surrounded by pain and heartache right now - in my family (my siblings), with my neighbors, in my city, in my state - it’s all feeling very heavy in my soul right now.

The shootings in Denver and Colorado Springs just add to that weight. I hurt for the families affected by these tragedies - the victims’ families and the shooter’s family.
In times like this, esp. this season, the only thing I feel I can do is to cry out for peace. So many of our advent readings right now are passages that speak of God’s Kingdom being one of peace and I believe it’s not only right for us to pray for this but it is also important that we take action to be peacemakers. We follow Jesus the Christ, the God-man who was born into an oppressed people and suffered violence of unspeakable measure, who was a perfect man of peace and who blesses the peacemakers.

In this time of turmoil, of pain, of brokenness and of mourning, I offer this prayer for peace, (ht)

Christ of wounds, Christ of tears, Christ of the wounds of the piercing,
hold us in your hands, scarred with love, through all
our trials and sufferings, and by your wounds,
may we find healing
Circle, O God, those who work for peace,
encircle them with your presence
keep wisdom within, keep folly out
keep strength within keep weariness out
keep hope within, keep despair out
keep light within keep darkness out
in the name of the Sacred Three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Circle, O God, the victims of violence and injustice
Encircle them with your presence
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out
Keep compassion within, keep hardheartedness out
Keep love within, keep hatred out
In the name of the sacred Three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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  1. Pistol Pete — December 11, 2007 #

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  2. Paul — December 11, 2007 #


  3. Ryan — December 11, 2007 #

    Sharing the pain and tension this morning…
    Thanks for the direction in prayer.

  4. Steve Mac — December 11, 2007 #

    We may be on the other side of the world now, but the reverberations hit home here too. Love your prayer. We leak all those good things and take in so many of the bad. How much do we need his grace?

  5. Mak — December 11, 2007 #

    Ryan - I know you guys must be, even more than me since you’re closer.

    Steve - thank you. yes, we do indeed take in the bad … it’s the “price” for “leaking the good” eh? God have mercy, Christ have mercy.

  6. Michelle — December 12, 2007 #

    I love how your blog provides a direction or point of reference, from which to perceive things. I come from a more traditional than emergent background and yet I find that in the emerg- (fill in the blank) conversations (including your blog) I see the same truths I’ve always embraced, but from a different starting point, a different center - a center that I relate to and that I believe reflects Christ’s priorities as well. Not sure I’m being clear on what I’d like to say…

    How much better to pray for peace and light, than to curse the darkness for being dark? Thank you.

  7. Mak — December 12, 2007 #

    yes, I understand you very well, I’m glad to know that that’s coming through :)

  8. michael — December 31, 2007 #

    I hurt too for much the same reasons.

    My daughter actually knew the girls, in particular Lori, the twin sister of Rachael, the 16 year old who was gunned down. They were/are a very sweet family and the girls were solidly on fire for their Lord whom they deeply loved. No doubt, they were ready but how terribly hard for their family. I also know someone who knows the gunman’s family, the dad is a very sweet, gentle man whilst also being an incredible doctor. Very sad indeed.

    Honestly, I guess I’m a little more pessimistic about the human lot. Everyone will be crying out “peace, peace” and then the Lord will return. I just don’t think we can outwardly bring peace to this world, not really but we are called to releive the suffering of others as much as we can, of course. Even our best intentions are so often laid to waste. Look at how much of the charity raised for the Katrina ravished areas, or the droughts in Africa was/is predictably squandered through corruption and greed. All this reminds me of our utter fallenness. All we can hope to do is to have “peace begin with me,” not through the vain likes of Lennon did whilst remaining personally very violent and verbally abusive. I have a hard enough time doing that (remaining in personal peace) but that is where I, at least, must begin. I need me to decrease and God to increase! When I am in his love then I am able to love others more but it is so hard to remain there when it is also so easy to allow the world to come in unfiltered and dull our sensitivity and joy.

    I take courage in that I know we are matured as we persevere–persist with patience, knowing too that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle! Oh man, i need to see with more faith!

  9. Mak — December 31, 2007 #

    I think this is exactly the tension we Christians need to live with - too often, the tension is stepped over going one way or the other. I visited a local charismatic mega church here (you know the one) on Saturday and it was incredibly sad how his “bible prophecy update” was basically “the world’s dark, it’s gonna get worse, anything outside of Christ is evil and you can’t do anything about it period”. I mean, COME ON! talk about fatalism.

    And then you have the other side of the tension that says we can solve it all and create utopia and that that is what we’re supposed to strive for.

    The tension says that we’re supposed to “let peace begin with me” and take a stand for justice where we can and follow scriptural mandates for what justice is but also realizing that it can only go so far and only do so much and that all of creation still groans for the return of Christ.

    This is the tension I enjoyed being reminded of this season in particular

  10. michael — January 1, 2008 #

    ” … COME ON! talk about fatalism.”

    –How true. That doesn’t serve us very well either. I do tend to go there but at the same time am aware that we can do something about it. God places people in our path that only we can uniquely love and speak to. Also, whilst the world is getting darker, indeed the love of many will wax cold and wickedness will increase, along with a great falling away, and yet, we also will have a revival and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the midst of increased persectuion. (Well, at tleast this is how interpret things.) Do I want the latter? No, who would? But at the same time all the shaking of the church is necessary. We need to be cleaned out and get off what is too often for many of us our comfort rocker, especially here in the States. God “disciplines those he loves” and we know too that, rightfully, “judgement begins with the house of God.” It’s necessary. God wants a devoted people, not double minded, buying into the world’s and culture’s affluent comfort system as an end in itself.

    If I look at all this corporately, it can be rather depressing, but then I take heart as I look at the mature believers I know who pray fervently, desire real change and are working within the confines they find themselves in. Corprotely it seems God is shaking things up, but individually, he also doesn’t reward us according to our iniquity as Psalm 103 thankfull reminds us. There is definitely an undercurrent of hunger and change. God is indeed preparing his people. I think there will be a greater falling away but it is necessary to weed out the wheat from the chaff.

    Would I go so far as to say I actually “enjoy” being reminded of the tension you mention, as you are able to? No, I really can’t say that either. …Hmmm.

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