On this third Sunday in Advent we are invited to hear that voice from the desert calling us to “prepare the way of the Lord.” We light what many call the candle of peace, yet do so in a world that is wracked with war and conflict. Nation sides with nation to build and break strongholds; one rule strives to replace another, each believing it has right on its side, while the wise remind us that eventually arms will need to be set aside and powers must come together at the table of peace-making. Those who are spared such harmful conflicts, urged by Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and the latest raft of retail advertisers are encouraged to be ever-restless for more. And in the midst of this clamour, a simple flame invites us to be still and know that God is near.
Another flame is kindled
Flickering into being like a voice that pierces
The silence of the wilderness
Calming our fears; stilling restless spirits; declaring salvation’s dawn.
The road to God’s eternity lies straight before us
Drawing our gaze beyond the turmoils and anxieties of the here and now
And though its route may lead through deserts of despair
The peace of God confounds mere earth-bound expectation.
Ours is to know the peace of God’s presence
And ours is the call to pursue its cause in the face of hostility
To be those whose will not repay evil with evil
Whose words and deeds would breed calm and contentment.
Our peace is found not by escaping this world’s turmoil,
But knowing God with us in its midst.
By trusting that his purpose will one day be fulfilled
And choosing those pathways that lead to its coming.
© 2016 North Western Baptist Association