First Sunday of Advent
Week of: December 1, 2019
Scripture: Psalm 122
"Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers." For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you." For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.
(Psalm 122:7-9, NRSV)
What a delight it is to begin a new Christian Year. It’s such a joy gathering together in worship, giving thanks and praise to the Holy One. We light one candle, centered on the beginning yet focused on the end of all time when Christ comes in final victory, when the lion lies down with the lamb, when anxiety ceases and all is at peace.
Psalm 122 leads us through majestic gates and thrones, a strong temple for God's people. In the midst of this grand stability is a call for something ethereal and elusive as a single flame, a plea for peace.
This time of year is easily lost to worry about ourselves, our families, and certainly our churches. "Can we get enough tenors?" "Where did we put the Advent wreath?" "How did I get all this done last year?" On and on it goes in our heads, voices of fear and failure, potentially stifling the joy this season can bring and robbing peace from those around us and throughout the world.
In the midst of this anxiety, the candle shines its message of peace, a flickering, dancing antidote to despair.
Take a moment lighting the first candle, watching it burn, seeing it alive; in giving thanks and praise there is peace. In a moment of focus in thanksgiving for God's living house, the saints and sinners we meet in our day to day lives, our anxiety lessens, our hearts are touched with peace. This peace won't stop, but grows stronger as it is fed. Holding our candles higher we wait, wanting a greater peace for all humankind.
Director of Music, Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church, Raytown, MO
Artist in Residence, Community Christian Church, Kansas City, MO