Advent devotion – December 3, 2009

Scripture: Matthew 21:33–46

“Peace on earth,” we say in Advent, we say at Christmas, we say upon the birth of the One we call the Prince of Peace. “Peace on earth,” we say as a hope, a prayer, a longing for all to be well with the world, with our families, with our souls.

But peacemaking does not always feel peaceful!

“Therefore I tell you,” Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone [that the builders rejected] will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls” (Matt. 21:43–44).

No reconciliation. No healing. No angels singing sweetly about the birth of a blessed Savior. Peacemaking in this parable is about judgment and rejection, not jubilation and restoration. We peacemakers do well to cringe at the violence in this message, even as we confess its reflection of the violence within ourselves.

In this Advent season, perhaps God calls us to admit the true cost of our peacemaking, the struggle we face to overcome violence within and without, and the forgiveness we need to embrace once again the call to Christian discipleship.


Holy One, who has called us to claim your kingdom, forgive us for the violence we embrace and for our failure to share your fruits. Teach us to trust your peace that passes all understanding. In the name of Christ. Amen.

The Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist, co-pastor,
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Tucson, Arizona

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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