December 6, 2020
Second Sunday of Advent
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. ~ John 1:5, 9.
Around 31 years ago when Jennifer and I were dating, she asked me what I wanted in life. What were my hopes and dreams? “Some day I’d like to be able to sit on a porch with a glass of ice-tea and look out over the hills as the sun is setting and be at peace with myself and the world,” I said
Barbra Brown Taylor says, “There may be no experience in the world that we want more and have less than the experience of peace.” At Christmas time we see the word on flags, banners, greeting cards, and ornaments. “Peace on Earth.” “The Prince of Peace.” We sing songs about peace and preachers (myself included) talk about a peace that the world does not understand. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Where is it?
How much peace do we experience between nations and between people? How much peace do we realize within our families and with our children and our parents? Do we work in harmony on our boards and within our institutions? How much peace do we have with our past? Peace can be allusive.
As all of us are anxiously waiting for the arrival of a covid-19 vaccine, I wish we had a vaccine for peace as well, but I am not holding my breath. John Dear, a former Jesuit priest and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, writes, “To settle into the house of peace, we need to let go of the baggage we carry with us.”
We develop a deeper spirit of peace within us when we no longer have anything left to cling to. What are we hanging on to? True peace and liberation says Father Richard Rohr is “letting go of our false selves, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death.” We even let go of our possessions. Do we own our possessions, or do they own us? Is more always better?
Can we let go of our need to control and manipulate other people? Can we let go of our need to control and our desire to be right at all costs? “Letting go of what we cling to enables us to enter God’s house and embrace the God of Peace,” say Dear.
Jesus lets go of everything and clings only to the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love of God. On the cross he breathes his last breath and says, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” There is nothing left but God.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, when the angel tells her she will have a child she is filled with fear, worry, and doubt. Mary does not have any peace until she surrenders or lets go. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
What do we cling to and hang on to?
Blessings and peace,