Waters of Justice for a Flood of Peace: an Advent reflection

“We say ‘peace’ like it’s a balm
like an earnest effort
to calm the storm
of anger and pain
but listen
if the world is on fire
then maybe
is rain

and lightning
and thunder
so I wonder
if maybe redemption
requires drowning a little
in the tension
of our fear
of disrupting the status quo
and our hope for better
than what we know.

Maybe storms too can be Godly.
Maybe a flood can be a promise.”

– from Holy Water, by Layton E. Williams

One of the themes we focus on every year as we light our Advent wreaths is peace. Peace is an important element of Christian faith. We see it symbolized in the dove and the olive branch. One of the many titles we ascribe to Jesus is “Prince of Peace.” We proclaim that the world to come, the world made new, will be marked by a full and lasting peace that cannot be destroyed, when lion and lamb will lie down together, and weapons will be transformed into farming tools.

It’s a beautiful vision, but it’s also one that can feel pretty far removed from the world as it is today. Right now, there are conflicts happening across the planet, between nations, and peoples, and families, and even between humans and the earth. In the face of such upheaval, peace seems sort of like a dream, a fairy tale. And too often, when we rush to try and create peace, we do so at the expense of justice. The truth is that believing the promise of peace means recognizing that we have work to do. In faith, we must do whatever we can to help create a world that is both loving and just, and only then can true peace be fully realized.

What are some actions you can take in your own life to help waters of justice and goodness roll so that the promised peace can finally flood into the world?

An art installation as a part of worship at the NEXT Church 2019 National Gathering.