Summary: With the world’s economy melting, with mayhem in Canada’s government, what possible port is available for us as we face this storm. The port is Jesus Christ, God made flesh, God made approachable.
Sermon – Advent III – Peace in the Storm – December 14, 2008
Recently the father of our bass guitarist, Denis Allman, read this Scripture, a passage that has layers of meaning and has brought strength and consolation to millions over hundreds of years:
Psalm 23:1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Denis’ father read this passage, and then he closed his eyes and passed into glory. Into the presence of Jesus. Into the immediate company of the One whose birth we celebrate during this holy month of December, this time of Advent.
This is a passage of peace and quiet confidence in the guiding hand of God, the reviving breath of God, and finally the banquet God prepares for His beloved. It is a passage that has brought peace to many a heart.
For those of us who have been Christians for a really long time, we all run the risk of forgetting…forgetting that whatever peace we know in our lives today is not first about circumstances, it’s not about our character, it’s not even about how we’ve chosen to abide in the peace of Christ, whatever that may mean to us. The peace we know is rooted in the character and calling of the One Christians think of during this Advent season as the Christ Child. This Prince of Peace.
So as I thought of Denis’ loss of his father this past week, and as I reflected on the Psalm…the song, the poem inspired by God that led Denis’ dad in peace into his death, as it took on special meaning for me as of course it did for Denis and his family…I considered our Advent theme of peace for this week, one that I don’t ever recall preaching on during Advent.
And it, frankly, made me wonder about a bunch of different things. It made me wonder, “Why does God care so much about us living with a deep peace inside us, when He knows that life and circumstances around us will always be somewhat unstable and we will always be vulnerable”?
I wondered “Why does the world around us exhibit such despair, such chaos, such a feeling of teetering on the precipice (especially evident now as the world waits to find out just how devastating the current worldwide economic meltdown will be)”?
And I wondered how we as a community could make a step closer to Jesus during this season. What is it about the Christ Child that makes approaching God somehow a little easier that it can seem otherwise.
So I hope you’ll humour me as I consider these questions out loud today. Let’s pray. Holy God, Lord Jesus Christ…May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer.
Let’s listen carefully as these few passages are read to us: [Have readers read the following passages on Peace]
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Let’s consider the first question I mentioned: God knows there will often be turmoil around us that will impact us.
We are vulnerable to the things that go on around us. Why does God then care that we live personally and collectively in peace?
Recently my family was in a car accident. Yes, I was driving. Yes, I was at fault. It was one of those ‘black ice’ situations where you attempt to stop, hit ‘black ice’ and have no control over the car. No one was hurt, but our car was damaged significantly, the other car much less so.