The following is my piece from week 2 of our Advent devotional at First Baptist Church of Bozeman, the church I help pastor.
Vengeance and anger and war have engulfed our world – surrounding and suffocating us in a prison of violence. From our front porch to Ferguson, from Bozeman to Baghdad, we are constantly bombarded with the reality of conflict. In fact, the U.S. has spent over $10 million PER HOUR on war since 2001. We have come to assume that this tit-for-tat, eye-for-an-eye way of thinking is not just normal, but right. We have come to know of no other way.
And yet, the Advent season begs us to dream of another way. In a world so steeped in violence that it has lost its collective imagination for any other way of problem solving, we are invited to wait for, and welcome, the Prince of Peace into the world. In a world where it is impossible to watch the news for any length of time without encountering enormous amounts of strife and conflict, we are invited to remember that violence and war and death do not get the final word in the Kingdom of God.
So, in this Advent season, may we hold out hope that the Prince of Peace might show up on the scene afresh, with a new, revolutionary message of shalom in the midst of our terribly broken world. May we have eyes to see how our God of redemption might be knitting together a tapestry of peace and love and justice for all. And may we be courageous enough to partner with God in being agents of this peace, love, and justice…here, and now.