NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR DECEMBER 4, 2016 THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

The theme for this Second Sunday of Advent is “Peace.” Many preachers commonly refer to this Sunday as “John the Baptist Sunday” because the lectionary Gospel text on this liturgical Sunday always includes the ministry of John the Baptist.

As I prepared for this Sunday by reading the four assigned scriptures, I noticed that none of them really talk about “peace.” The word “peace” is only mentioned in one of them. I’m of the opinion that these scriptures were chosen for a Sunday when the theme is “Peace” because they point to the coming “Prince of Peace.” That got me to think that perhaps too often we talk about peace when really we should do more “practicing peace” and pointing to the “Prince of Peace.” By that I mean we should make every effort to “BE” the peacemakers first, rather than expecting or seeking peace efforts from others first. Remember, we are not responsible nor can we control others actions; but we can decide whether we will practice peace in our lives and situations we face.

Perhaps this can be illustrated from a wonderful story out of Florida, back when African-Americans in the south were not allowed to vote. During times of political elections, a certain community of African-Americans in Florida would rent a voting machine and go through the voting process. Now, they knew that their votes would not be counted, but they voted anyway. When asked by members of the white community why they did this every year, they replied, “Oh, just practicing; just practicing.”

They could not vote at that time, but they felt in their hearts that a new day was coming. They believed in a just God who had not forsaken them. One day they would vote. Right now they were “just practicing,” but one day the promise of freedom, dignity and justice would be realized.

Practicing peace and pointing to the Prince of Peace means that even when we are not experiencing peace, we still believe that God is at work in this world and our lives. We still believe in the promise of Peace and the Prince of Peace and we believe that peace begins with me. And so this week the scriptures encourage us on “The Road to Peace” saying, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Join us for worship at Covenant on this Second Sunday of Advent and let’s learn to practice peace. My sermon is “The Road to Peace” based on Romans 15:1-13 and Matthew 3:1-12.

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