Welcome to the second week of our Advent Series! As we mentioned in previous posts, we are not technically following the actual "Advent Calendar." However, we will still be discussing the rich meaning and symbolism behind the individual candles of the Christmas Advent Wreath and how the given topics call for worship. Traditionally, the second week of Advent is represented by the lighting of the wreath’s second purple candle, “Peace.”
In This World…
This is what I see in the world today: Death. Murder. Terrorism. Suicide. Persecution. Injustice. Poverty. Slavery. Theft. Sickness. Depression. Betrayal. Divorce. Addiction. Temptation.
It’s fallen, it’s evil, it’s chaotic, and it’s broken.
I am assuming that everyone reading this post has experienced at least one of these fifteen things, first hand. For the other ones, it is likely that we can all name another person in our lives who has experienced them. Which one(s) have you experienced?
Let’s just take the word that is common to every single person: Temptation. Even in this, we see that our hearts are capable of being lured away from God, that there is something broken about us that desires ungodly things and moves us toward frustration and chaos.
PRAISE JESUS that the words that define the world do not define me! Those words are awful. I see sin’s stain all over that list. Why don’t those words define me? Because though the world’s reality is still fallen, my reality is newness, reconciliation, and peace, all because Jesus came into this broken world.
That’s what we celebrate this Christmas season – Jesus’ arrival. Without Him, we would forever be walking in an endless pattern of disorder. We would be separated from communion with our Creator and never know the true life He intends for us. Thank Him for coming and fixing what we can not.
God’s Son was given to us, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He is an everlasting Rock for us to trust in (Isaiah 26:3-4). He is near, and as we draw near to Him, His peace will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:5-7).
We can have peace in Jesus because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). He gives us peace that the world does not give; we have the power to never let our hearts be afraid (John 14:27). Though we will most definitely experience tribulation in this world, He is STILL “Peace.” Do you notice the words on the list above starting to diminish in power and intensity? Let me repeat… He has overcome the world!
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” –Isaiah 53:5
Jesus died in our place. He rose again, conquering sin and death. By believing in Him, trusting in Him, and turning away from sin to follow Him, we, too, overcome the world (1 John 5:4). We are made at peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Do you have this peace with God? Do you have this peace in Jesus to carry you through this lifetime?
Worship From Peace
We worship God from a place of peace. Because my heart is at peace with God, I can approach Him confidently, boldly, assured of His love and care for me.
Does your relationship to God have barriers because you have been affected…scarred, even, from the evil of the world? Rest knowing that we are anchored in Christ; things of this world will affect us but do not deeply shake or destroy us. We mourn over evil, but we also keep pressing on boldly, victoriously, rejoicing in peace!
“We are God’s favorite creation. More valuable to him than anything else in the world! Be care free in the care of God. Taking every thought captive is surrendering every thought that wars against your peace. The kind of peace that is anchored in him.” -Brian Johnson
The Overflow of Peace-Filled Worship
Pastor Dave Kountz of Blue Ridge Community Church recently gave a sermon on how God, as Creator, takes our brokenness and makes us whole. He made a point about how creators have a “signature.” He said that nobody would get confused on which piece of art is a Picasso, for example, because the art, itself, has Picasso’s style written all over it. This is because creation flows out of who the creator is. If God is the ultimate Creator, and He made us in His image, then we are also creators in this life.
If peace with God is in your heart, peace-filled things will flow out of you; peace will be your “signature.”
In Christ, I am a new creation: whole, complete, and on the road to healing and health. Streams of His new life in me will flow outward instead of torrents of disorder and sinful patterns. And we are given this message of reconciliation to spread to people who are without true peace. Our message is of hope, peace, joy, and love found in Jesus. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.
Challenge to Worship
“‘Bringing the world’s needs before God in prayer is an essential reason for the church to gather in worship,’ according to John Rempel...‘The church calls down God’s grace into settings of brokenness and potential. As we pray for peace and justice, we become agents of God’s love and potential…Worship is the time and place where God’s people are immersed in this hopeful vision. We recite the story, celebrate it in song, long for it in prayers, interpret it in sermons, sign it in sacraments, explore its breadth in the lectionary, and practice it in community life.’” -Joan Huyser-Honig
What are you producing with your hands? What message are you sending to your sphere of influence? Does whatever you’re making have “peace with God” written all over it? Are you spreading this message of reconciliation because you, yourself, have been reconciled to God? Worship Jesus this Christmas season for taking your brokenness and making you whole in Him. Rejoice in His peace, and emanate that peace to the world that desperately needs it!
Recommended Track of the Week: “Come To Us O Lord” by Young Oceans