Sunday, 29 November 2015

Advent waiting

It's strange this Advent
not to be running full tilt
to make sure that everything's ready:
The candles, the poinsettias, the bulletins, the powerpoints,
the trees and the nativity scenes,
the baubles and the stars for the blue Christmas service,
the readers, the mince pies and mulled wine,
the prayers, the poems, not forgetting the midweek reflections.
(and that's just the church stuff)
It's strange.
And I'm not sure I like it much.
But I wait.
Empty handed.
Wondering why God calls me to this.
But assured that God does.
I have hope in this season of Advent.
Hope for the world - 
for the glimmer of light in all the darkness that abounds.
Hope for the church - 
for renewal that incites love.
And hope for peace
that reaches deep within in the waiting
massaging a bruised and tired spirit
healing a wound that refuses to close
revealing a purpose as yet not fully grasped.
It's strange this Advent,
And so, I wait...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Peacemakers and Peacekeepers

Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was moved, yesterday, to hear murdered US Journalist, James Foley's mother speak with grace and dignity on the killing by government security forces of Jihadi John. She questioned how, in the light of her son's peacemaking efforts, anyone could imagine that justice had been done in more violence.
And, as several world leaders declared the world a better place with the death of one terrorist, the horror of IS attacks on Paris, clearly carefully planned and orchestrated, exploded on to our TV screens and social media feeds.
Right now, nations across the world are united in grief and outrage. Public events are being cancelled, both as a mark of respect and out of fear of security breaches. Public buildings are being illuminated with the blue, white and red of France's tricolour.
Religious leaders are calling for prayers for peace.
But how long before governments retaliate with violence?
How long before more lives are lost, lives that will not be mourned or even named publicly, mere collateral in the war on terrorism?
In this week when the UK has honoured those who have fallen in war, along with all those who "kept the home fires burning", as we've heard impassioned pleas from many veterans of war to find a way to peace, we hold our collective breaths, fearing what seems inevitable in a world that knows not how to make peace - that once again we will be led, by our power hungry governments into more revenge and violence in the name of justice.
And our tears mingle with those of God...

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