OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: Peace focus of Advent
Take heed, watch for you do not know when the time will come. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come. – Mark 13: 32 and 35.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, which marked the beginning of the new Liturgical Year in the Anglican Church.
During the four Sundays in Advent, the Anglican Church will be focussing on peace, which is very necessary in the world today.
Wednesday, December 17, will be observed as a day of Prayer for Peace.
Advent is that time when we focus on God’s attempt to make peace in sending his Son – Jesus, the Prince of Peace. As children of the Incarnation we have no option but to be peacemakers.
What is this peace that we seek? Peace is more than the absence of war; it refers to wholeness of life and challenges us to work and pray for the establishment of communities that would allow every individual to enjoy a quality life as one made in the image and likeness of God.
As we pray for peace in Advent, we are praying that God’s kingdom would be established in the hearts of all people.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the World War I. Since this war, there have been many other wars which have claimed the lives of millions all over the world. We always live with the threat of a third world war.
War is the greatest threat to world peace. Peace is also threatened by poverty, oppression, injustice, poor housing, lack of food and water and many other evils which rob people of their human rights and dignity.
The invitation to use Advent to focus on peace is our way of responding to a crisis that is spiritual and material.
Advances in science and technology have made the world a global village and we are all affected by what happens in any part.
The media makes it possible for us to see daily the pain and suffering that define the lives on many people. As a church we are limited by what we can do tangibly but as the community of faith we can lift up the world in prayer and intercede for people known and unknown who cry out for help in their precarious situations.
Incumbents are invited to use the readings for Advent to lead their parishes into thinking and focusing on some aspect of peace making.
Parishes might also want to observe a Novena from December 16 to 24, when daily services are held in preparation for Christmas.