An Advent Reflection
The theme of the first week of Advent in our parish is “The Promise of Peace” from last Sunday’s readings. Today’s advent verse is from Jesus’ farewell discourse in John 14
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
and do not let them be afraid. —John 14:27
It’s a lovely verse. But it is an odd verse when you consider that this is the last supper and the soldiers are coming. What awaits is the taunting, the torturing, the dying; the fear, the fleeing, the hiding behind locked doors. Yet here, at the table, Jesus gives peace.
The risen Christ will also speak a word that brings peace. Those terrible three days are prefaced and fulfilled with the gift of peace. Heaven does not roar at what was done to the son; Heaven reaches out to bless. If the peace of God was not destroyed by the hammer and the nails, it will never be destroyed. It will not fail like the Pax Romana. It is not crumble like the peace that followed the war to end all wars. It is not built on conquest but reconciliation. It is not like the pale and faltering peace the world creates. It is imperishable, abiding, eternal. We are forgiven. We are reconciled. We are welcomed to God’s table, even with hands bloodied. God has made his peace with us.
God has made peace. He is the betrayed father standing at the door of his alienated son, arms wide. Now it is simply a matter of our stepping from the doorway that he may enter in.
It is gift. A gift we can’t understand. But a gift that makes all creation new.
And in it we may abide.