Today's reading: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. (v. 8)
I'm feeling more-than-the-usual-amount of conflictedness about this week's traditional Advent theme, Peace. There seem to be so many worldly voices deeply invested in making sure we feel as peace-less as possible; as long as we are mired in anger and fear, then we can be manipulated by those who want us to buy, to hate, to argue, to battle... and even to vote. The minute we begin to choose peace--in our relationships, in our world, and especially in our own hearts--we begin to shake off their control, and their power over us begins to fade (and they begin to get very nervous, and their voices grow stronger!).
Today's passage specifically makes me think about many of my dear friends, faithful Christ-followers who are members of the military. I'm proud of them, not so much for their "actual" job, but for the way they allow God's peace to speak to and through them, even in a setting that may be seen as inherently non-peace-full. I'm struck by the contrast between these everyday disciples, who quietly invoke the Prince of Peace even into their military vocations, compared with some of the most vehement voices in the media today: politicians who parade their Christianity in one breath, and pour out fear-mongering and hate in the next.
It's not my intention or desire to guess (or judge) what's in peoples' hearts; I think that's a job only God is qualified for. My responsibility as I see it is to look at the examples around me and discern which ones I want to follow and why. I want to follow those who hear God's voice speaking peace, and who then live that peace into every aspect of their lives. I want to follow those whose hearts are ever turning God-ward.
I want to be a peace-monger, one who will speak God's message of "be not afraid," the message of steadfast, unfailing, encompassing love.