Written by Glen Graham
The coming of the Prince of peace is one of the major themes of the Advent, Christmas season. But what kind of peace did he bring?
His early life was far from peace-filled as his mere presence enflamed the envy of the powerful elite. Yet that same presence transformed the lives of shepherds and mystical visitors from the East.
This mixed response to Jesus’ presence was to be the backdrop for his whole life and ministry.
This peace had at the heart of it two things –
The end of violence, especially for religious reasons. His teaching in the Sermon on the mount is clear about this. The most striking blow to religious power and violence was his death on the cross as Forgiving Victim. It is only as forgiving victim that he could disarm the powers.
Second. He brought Shalom or wholeness and transformation. The most striking example for me as a person with a disability is the scene in the upper room in John 20. The wounded healer is in the room. He doesn’t hide the wounds, but glorifies them by getting them to touch. Then from his wounded body, deep down, the words and the breath come.
Creation comes through the breath and the “Let there be light”.
Recreation comes through the breath and “Peace be with you”.
Despite our woundedness, we can breathe and speak that transforming peace too. To practise, use the phrase “Peace be with you” as a breath prayer. When you are in a queue or passing someone in the street, breath in using the phrase and breathe out using it. You never know what will come of it as you let that peace centre you and flow out of you.
Glen Graham is Baptist Minister at Cullompton Baptist Church, a Spiritual Director and a Justice Activist.
This post is part of an advent series. Twenty-Four diverse voices have been invited to share some thoughts on one of four themes (Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) each day during the season of Advent. Each contributor has been given just one theme and no further parameters – they may write as much or as little in the style of their own choosing.
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