The Week of Peace
As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace. Amen
Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson
By Sue Koning
Because of my love for music and how it influences my life and faith witness, today’s devotional will be “peace-full” including scripture, hymns, and carols.
The Pax Romana, under Augustus, spanning nearly two hundred years, fostered economic prosperity and tranquility in the Roman Empire and regions beyond. The Scriptures, inspired by God, were being written; prophecy was being fulfilled, as in the coming of the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6.) We read: “God will keep him in perfect peace in Is. 26:3; “My peace I give to you.” (John 14:27); “…the peace of God will surpass all understanding…” (Php. 4:7). Even parental admonishment to “busy” children is scriptural: “peace and quiet.” (Prov. 17:1)
In music, children sing boldly of peace in “I’ve got peace like a river” and “I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart”! In our hymnals, we find “When peace like a river…” by H.G. Spafford, written after the tragic loss of his four daughters at sea, and “Oh, what peace we often forfeit” or “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth”. Our nation’s Star Spangled Banner, in verse two, speaks of “Blest with vict’ry and peace…” (A bonus peace reference: the 1960’s Hippie V sign!)
At Christmas, we sing “and to the earth be peace…” and “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” Cannot omit the heralding angels singing “Peace on earth and mercy mild…”
Some congregations “Pass the Peace” as a part of the worship service—familiar use of a word. Has its usage become too casual, too ordinary? What do we mean when we offer “peace”? Is it the absence of conflict, the calmness of the moment, part of a greeting card message, a sigh of release or relief? On that silent and holiest of nights in Bethlehem, true and perfect peace was born: Jesus, the Son of God, Emmanuel. He is PEACE!