This past Sunday in church we sang one of the old songs of the church, "O Come Emmanuel." The words were written some time in the ninth century of the common Era and each verse expresses a hope that God will send someone to bring peace and an end to despair to the people of God.
Many years have come and gone since those words were first written and sung. The advances brought about by research and education, technology and science have added years to our life spans and eradicated diseases that decimated entire populations centuries ago. The advent of telecommunication and computer technologies allows for instantaneous communication with people half way across the globe. In our First World communities modern appliances have made our household chores easier and more convenient.
In the two generations of my grandparents to my own time we have seen the invention of the automobile, the airplane, spaceships, washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners, electric heat and cooling systems, television, T.V. dinners, microwave ovens, VCRs and DVDs, faxes, computers, email and cell phones. So much of life as we know it has changed in just those short 100 years.
But for all of the changes, both those that are wonderful and those that are less than wonderful, one things has changed. We continue to hope for peace. The words of the ninth century writers still ring through to my heart today:
"O come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of humankind.
O bid our sad divisions cease,
And be for us our king of peace."
For centuries people have hoped for peace, prayed for peace, worked for peace, and even fought for peace. We hope for peace in our homes, our schools, our churches, our communities and around the world. In our community there is a group called People for Peace who gather weekly to discuss issues involving peace and to work toward peaceful resolution to local and world problems. Sunday they ran an ad in the Juneau Empire that listed the names of people who supported the peace initiatives. I read each name and was inspired to see so many people I knew on the list, and uncomfortable that somany of us still have not yet joined the local peace groups.
This month of December is filled with holidays and Holy Days for most of the world's faith groups. It is my hope and prayer that each of us will take a few moments each day to join out hearts in your own means of prayer or meditation that the day of peace will come. In whatever manner is appropriate to you, pray for peace, hope for peace, and work for peace. Consider starting with your family and friends to do one thing each day that will bring about a moment of peace and reconciliation to those in your circle of influence. Widen the circle each day and eventually the circles will overlap and perhaps peace will be possible for us in our lifetime, and for the generations to come.
In the words of the church's liturgy:
Peace be with you.
And also with you.
The Rev. Kim Poole is pastor of Jubilee Community.