The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has produced Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace: Advent Devotions 2010. This booklet contains daily devotions for the season of Advent that focus on Peacemaking.
The devotion for December 6th focuses on the fullness of peacemaking – not just the absence of war, but living in justice with all people and God's earth. You can read the daily devotions on Swords into Plowshares: Reflections from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Or order the devotional booklet online.
The reflection for December 6is reposted below:
Scripture – Luke 21:20–28 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11
Luke paints a picture of the Son of Man returning in the midst of disturbances that are military, ecological, and astrological. This scene is in tension with the epistle lesson comparing the coming of the day of the Lord to that of a thief in the night. The Scriptures describe the Lord as longing for peace with justice today and promising that same hope at a future date.
All three Abrahamic faiths stress that peace is much more than the absence of war. It results from our right relationship with God and is expressed in just and humble relationship with our neighbors and with the earth and its creatures.
While Luke describes warning signs of the end—signs that happen often in every generation—Paul confirms that the day of the Lord will not come as a surprise to the faithful. Luke and Paul call believers to be patient and remain faithful, but they have different descriptions of when and how Christ will return.
Reformed Christians focus on Christ’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Some other traditions trust in an apocalyptical ending with the faithful emerging triumphant, no matter how much suffering and injustice are happening now.
Peacemakers are called to live each day as though it might be the last, but to plan wisely and do justice even though that last day may be far in the future.
God of peace, help us live so that our communities and leaders will protect our world from injustice, nuclear holocaust, or ecological apocalypse. Empower us to strive for a just peace as though each day could be our last—yet to disciple daily as though the day of the Lord will be in the distant future. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Henry Bucher, Jr., adjunct associate professor
emeritus/humanities, Austin College, Sherman, Texas