The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal

First Sunday of Advent …

The Foolishness of the Gospel (God [Messing] With Us) – While lights, carols, pageants, decorations, family, food and gifts will predominate, the lectionary readings for Advent come from the prophet Isaiah, and the message of the prophet Isaiah is far brighter than any Christmas lights.  We begin a new series in December – The Foolishness of the Gospel (God [Messing] With Us).  Each message is inspired by the lectionary readings for Advent from the Book of Isaiah.  We begin this week with the text from Isaiah 2:4.  God judges the nations and a miracle happens.  Swords morph into plowshares.  Implements of war become instruments of hope.  Instead of bloodying the fields, we will plow them, plant them, and harvest them.  They shall not learn war any more.December Series 1  Christmas Truce

         Is this an idealistic vision?  Can we even imagine it, to say nothing of believing it can actually come to pass?  It seems we don’t even go through the motions of “declaring” war these days; like a low grade infection it is always with us.  The military has become an “industrial complex”, a major source of our economy.  This was true in First Century Palestine with Rome holding Israel (and other nations) in check.

         Without denying the sacrifices so many women and men make in our armed services, and without trivializing the fact of evil in the world, today, we explore the Christmas question of peace.    Jesus is called “Wonderful Counselor; Prince of Peace”.  Is it possible?  What might it look like and feel like to us?

         Today we reflect on The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal.

We Interrupt this War

 Isaiah 2:1-5

Message: The Relevance of an Impossible Ideal

Calling Heaven  –  Michael W. Smith

 

Letters from “The Christmas Truce

Half a Million Lives?

Syrian Refugee Children

 

           Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good will to men.

 

I thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song Of peace on earth, good will to men.

 

And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.”

 

Till, ringing singing, on its way, The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.