Psalm 85 and Luke 1: 68-75
The amazing part of the text we just heard is that Zechariah is talking about his son, John, just born. Imagine looking at a newborn and ‘seeing’ the vision of all God will do thru him. Seeing the future even to the ‘not-yet-born’ Messiah for whom this child will be a ‘prophet’. .
John will eventually baptize Jesus and later lose his head to the whim of Herod’s wife, because Herod wants to ‘keep the peace’ in his household.
Matching the reality of the story we know from our gospel accounts to this lofty language seems a disconnection, the same disconnect we feel when we speak the language of PEACE in church and then go home to news reports of gun violence, and war.
Today we have voices who will remind us of the disconnect we feel. Listen to these accounts as you try to bring what we know is God’s intent together with what we know is happening in the world.
Robyn and Gary - gun violence
DEBBIE - Sudan experience
Disconnection is a feeling familiar to God’s people. We hear it in the psalms, we hear it in today’s stories of violence and joy. Two strange mates which don’t seem to belong together.
Even the psalmist recognizes the need for partnership between mates that often disagree…between righteousness and peace.
Today we have heard Jonathan speak of Peacemaker teams full of people who literally put their life in the way of violent action in order to make peace.. or die trying in pursuit of a just peace.
Yesterday in our daily COB devotional, Tim Harvey wrote of a brethren congregation’s desire for peace and security in the most dangerous and violent part of Santo Domingo. They address the need for this partnership by “regularly offering to exchange guns for food. They offer life in the place of death on many levels.” Harvey wrote.
For the last several days we’ve heard about Nelson Mandela’s life. In this one person, righteousness and peace made a home.
The President in his remarks about Mandela said, “His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or in our own personal lives.”
In Nelson Mandela we saw,
“what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears.”
Like the plot of a love story in a movie you can watch again and again,
where Two people, attracted to each other, remain at a distance either by choice, or because something (or someone else) keeps them apart.
They pass each other, eyes locked, but with no opportunity to talk. Then they find themselves in the same room, on the same committee so they end up working together. Soon their hands will brush each other, a hand on the other’s arm. . .
Then moment when they move towards a kiss…but are interrupted by someone entering the room
then, the perfect moment, mistletoe overhead, two potential lovers find themselves alone.
. . .
Maybe that’s how it is with righteousness and peace.
First it’s righteousness, which is synonymous with right relations or JUST relationships, who finds itself in the same country with peace but they seem so very far apart, with only a little in common.
Then something or someone brings them together for an attempt at reconciliation and they sit across from each other. . .Righteousness stubbornly holding onto the ground of justice. While peace calmly sits nearby.
Soon they are working together, even finding common ground because a person, a Nelson Mandela, gives up vengeance (righteous vengeance but still vengeance) in favor of taking the hand of peace.
When the two touch, there’s a bit of electricity. . .
It could spark another fire, …or
It could fuel their desire for each other and begin a love affair of amazing consequence - which will it be?
A new fight?
and what will YOUR choice be?
To move toward or away from the kiss of peace?
Blessings and Sending:
“so it falls to us as best we can to follow the Mandela’s example, “to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love”