And we had a lot to think about….
Way back when our worship committee made the decision to make the change to our Advent schedule, we could not possibly foresee how that decision would connect itself to world events: the passing of Nelson Mandela was and is a loss that is felt (please click on >> to continue reading) around the world. The timing of his passing highlighted Advent themes we had explored: his work and his legacy is celebrated with JOY in song, in eulogy and in dance. His work brought PEACE to his homeland. His leadership brought HOPE to the world.
Now you might be thinking, “Rev. Debbie, how can you say that?!?!?”
“There is still violence in South Africa.”
“There is still racism there.”
“There is economic instability and poverty.”
“None of that looks like peace to me.”
And you know what, I’d be inclined to agree with you. I confess, my vision of peace is uncompromising in its idealism. When I think of peace, I think of these words from Isaiah 10:
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den
Isaiah’s images are of a world recreated, reconfigured and redone!
A world where prey and predator become cuddle buddies–
A world where the most vulnerable can play safely in spaces that were once dangerous to the point of being lethal.
I confess, I long for the morning when I wake up and hear that every war is over….that every hungry person has been fed….that poverty is no longer reality…..that racism has been eradicated….that animals are no longer abused and that every child is loved. I long for a peace that is nothing less than total, and if I can’t have it, than I’m not satisfied. Anything less is -simply- not peace. Achieving that kind of peace would take a miracle because it seems impossible.
But isn’t it God who finds the possible in the impossible— Isn’t that one of the most powerful and important messages in our scriptures?
Scriptures reveal a God who fashioned creation out of chaos—who drew water from a rock—who made a shepherd boy a king—who appeared as a dove above at a baptism—who brought life out of death—who emptied a tomb by way of resurrection—A God who worked and walked in the human form of a man. The God in the totality of Biblical witness is creative power and energy–God is true renewal, rebirth and regeneration—transformation and making new–The God of scripture surprises us constantly with unpredictable outcomes and unusual manifestations.
So, if we truly believe in a God that can bring possibility out of impossibility, then let’s look back on what once seemed impossible–and see what has become possible. Let’s do this—not to say the work of peace making has been done—but instead to say, “Look what is possible if we keep working, praying and walking together.” God does bring peace to the world.
Our Sunday service ended with this video. There was a time -not that long ago- when making something like this was impossible. Then one man changed everything….. Woolies and Soweto Gospel Choir: Madiba Tribute
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