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Returning to God and finding the Spirit of peace

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2nd Sunday of Advent – December 4, 2016

Joel 2:12-13, 28-29 and Luke 11:13

A young boy was driving a hayrack down the road when the wagon fell over in front of a farmer’s house. The farmer came out, saw the young boy crying and said, ”Son, don’t worry about this, we can fix it. Right now dinner’s ready.

Why don’t you come in and eat with us and then I’ll help you put the hay back on the rack?’’

The boy said, ”No, I can’t. My father is going to be very angry with me.” The farmer said, ”Now don’t worry, just come in and have some lunch and you’ll feel better.” The boy said, ”I’m just afraid my father is going to be very angry with me.”

The farmer and the young boy went inside and had dinner. Afterwards, as they walked outside to the hayrack, the farmer said, ”Now, son, don’t you feel better after that great meal?”

The boy said, ”Yes but I just know that my father will be very angry with me.” The farmer said, ”Nonsense. Where is your father anyway?” The boy said, ”He’s under that wagon.’’

When Jesus spoke a number of blessings, one of the things He said, was, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Blessed are the peacemakers. This sounds tremendously hard in times when there is seldom any peace to be found. Current events in North America just show how peace evades the human race. The anger and frustration, the willingness to speak in foul ways to one another, all show how hard people find it to have real peace.

I think this is so appropriate in light of the recent American election, and an act of violence on the Ohio State University campus. As Joel was telling the people to turn from their ways and return to the Lord, I thought “Do we really turn our hearts and or our attention to the birth of Jesus or do we just go through the motions?” Do we get so caught up in the busyness of preparations – just like a lot of people – or are we called to re-turn our hearts and minds on the birth of Jesus? To re-turn means that we are familiar but somehow other things have taken our attention. Verses 28-29 of Joel 2 give us a blueprint to return – that the birth of Jesus represents a new vision of how life is supposed to be.

It might be worthwhile contemplating on how you and I can funnel our emotions away from anger into finding peace. We might want to add peace to our personal space. How about doing whatever we can to make our life more peaceful, such as distancing ourself from violent people and situations, and making time regularly for silence and solitude in our lives.

Resolve conflict wisely. Even with all the steps we take to deal with anger, we’ll still encounter plenty of conflicts that we must deal with wisely to create positive outcomes from them. The thing about conflict is that we can’t wish to brush them under the carpet, so to speak. When dealing with conflict, refuse to respond in anger to what other people say or do. Instead, listen quietly until they’re done expressing themselves. Then identify our part in the conflict and let us ask God to help us say what we need to say with kindness and respect. Let’s try to learn from conflict and make whatever changes God leads us to make from what we’ve learned.

Perhaps by seeking peace in this manner, we might truly allow the Spirit to be poured into our hearts and once more we may be peacemakers.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

 

Copyright 2016 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church

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