Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Psalm 26, 28 
Amos 7: 10-17 
1 Thessalonians 5:1228 
Matthew 22:34-46 

Advent is a season that I discovered and came to celebrate later in life in part to combat the growing secular nature of Christmas and in part to bring something new and spiritually nourishing into my life at this time in the Christian Year.

The reading from 1 Thessalonians 5 is so pertinent for this time in the Advent Season where the theme of peace is emphasized. We are to be at peace among ourselves( v. 13) And just how are we to do this? Well, verses 14-17 tell us to “encourage”, “help” and “be patient with” each other, to “always do good” and never do evil, to “rejoice always”, to “give thanks in all circumstances” and to “pray without ceasing”. Well, that is a tall order! Every Sunday, during the Eucharistic service, we pass the peace. How many times have we thought of peace with all those characteristics? I certainly have not.

And what actually is peace? For our Jewish brothers and sisters, to greet one another with “shalom aleichem” means “peace to you”, roughly translated. But the full extent, the deepness of its meaning, is “wholeness” or “completeness” according to my Judaism for Dummies reference book3. And that, I believe, is the essence of verse 23 with the hope that “the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely”.

Yesterday we observed the United Nations’ Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If we truly knew and offered real and lasting peace to our neighbours, this annual observation could become unnecessary. What a wonderful thought!
Sandy Austin

3 Falcon, Rabbi Ted ans Blatner, David, Judaism for Dummies, Wiley Publishing Inc., c2001, page 351

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