The Pass that Peaces

I've been encouraged multiple times in the last few months to remember that I'm supposed to be taking four weeks off from work each year... Including four Sundays. I have a fantastic, "associate pastor" in retired Pastor Doug Diehl, and he has agreed to preach every 4-6 weeks for me, so I'm covered in that regard... I am blessed!

This past week, the Second Sunday of Advent, while I watched from home and saw how beautiful the sanctuary looked online, he preached on "The Pass that Peaces."  I encourage you to watch if you've not had a chance to yet. If you like to focus just on the message / sermon, it usually starts about half way through the video. He has GREAT thoughts to share, and I will not "steal" from him, except for his sermon title, which I borrowed for this blog post, and the next thing... (so really, go watch his service or his sermon, at least).

A scripture Doug shares at the time of communion is Colossians 1:19-20 NRSVUE

 "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross."

Keep that in mind as you read on.

So, being freed from having to prepare a sermon myself this past week, I focused on some other projects, including an Advent video mini-series I had conceived a couple of years ago. I had wanted to create short videos to try and connect with people who had maybe been raised in, but had distanced themselves from, religious institutions, or those who were curious but inexperienced with church traditions.

Shooting bits of video in the setup of our sanctuary was simple, since it was so beautifully decorated. It wasn't until I sat down to edit that I remembered, "Oh yeah... The editing... THAT'S the killer... :-("

Video editing can be really fun, BUT it is a really time-consuming activity... For me, anyway.

So, I'll try to put them together still, but it's going to be a while... Maybe even next year before they come out. But the one thing I can offer now, is an outtake... And some thinking that comes from it.

Here. Watch this first.
So, now that you have seen THAT, and since I've not explained anything else about "peace" other than sharing that verse from Colossians (italics above), let's think about Peace, our sense of it, and what threatens it...

1) How often do we upset our connection with true Peace by counting on our own clumsy actions (remember me bumping into the candle), using the normal tools at our disposal, and the inherited motions of tradition? Let us remember that as beautiful as traditions like the Advent Wreath are, in helping us center our hearts, it doesn't do the work FOR us. The Advent Wreath itself is not a Means of Grace. It is simply an action that we participate in to help us engage our hearts and our minds toward God... You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make her drink, so to speak. We need to be intentional in seeking Peace through the One who offers it through God's Self.

2) How often do we snuff Peace out ourselves by taking it for granted that it's just about us and our internal sense of calm, without considering how our position affects others? Whether we are clergy, consistent church-goers, never been to church folk or any other category, Christ's Peace is offered through his sacrifice, but it is both an individual and a communal event. It is reconciliation with God. We are entirely capable of eliminating Peace for ourselves and for others by simply being self-centered and thinking we only affect ourselves. We don't. God calls upon us to be united as people, as all of creation. ALL of creation is reconciled in Christ. Even people who don't think the way we do.

3) All that is a lot to think about. It can be heavy. But it's important not to get bogged down and decide it's not worth trying, Instead, let us laugh and start over. Today. Peace is within our grasp. Because God is with US. Emmanuel.

~ Pastor Michele

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