"Prince of Peace" 2010 Advent/Christmas Sunday Reflections
Advent is a time of expectations. Biblically we return to scriptures that tell us the story of God coming to dwell with us through the birth of a baby while politically we work and prepare for the birth of peace. How timely it is then that this year CMEP’s Advent theme is “Prince of Peace.”
We hope that these selections of scripture and reflections will help you be more centered on the religious reasons we celebrate and our shared work and hope for peace in the Middle East. These reflections were written by individuals from a variety of Christian traditions represented on CMEP’s Board of Directors. With the connection between our faith and our call as peacemakers it is important that we acknowledge and celebrate our being and working as Christians by being vigilant in keeping our efforts rooted in faith.
We encourage you to read these reflections to deepen your spiritual life and your connection with people in the Holy Land. We also encourage you to share these reflections with others you know who are working for peace in the Middle East. You can either send this PDF document or refer them to www.CMEP.org.
First Week of Advent reflection by The Reverend Canon Robert Edmunds, Chaplain to the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Canon Pastor of the Cathedral of St. George. Canon Edmunds, and his wife Deborah, serve as Appointed Missionaries of the Episcopal Church on the staff of the Right Reverend Suheil Dawani, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
First Sunday of Advent
Seeking the Mountain Top
The word that Isaiah son of
Amoz saw concerning Judah
and Jerusalem. In days to come
the mountain of the LORD’s
house shall be established as
the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the
hills; all the nations shall stream
to it. Many peoples shall come
and say, “Come, let us go up to
the mountain of the LORD, to
the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his
paths.” For out of Zion shall go
forth instruction, and the word
of the LORD from Jerusalem. He
shall judge between the
nations, and shall arbitrate for
many peoples; they shall beat
their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning
hooks; nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither
shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come, let us
walk in the light of the LORD!
-Isaiah 2:1-5 (NRSV)
Whenever mountaintops are mentioned in the Bible, we do well to pay
attention. The high places were often associated with important events,
revelations and visions from God's very hand. Moses at Mt. Sinai, Jesus in prayer
on various mountains and the Transfiguration all come to mind. In this passage
the holy mountain of Jerusalem, referred to as Zion, is brought into sharp focus
as God's dwelling place from which all the nations are invited to come and learn
to walk in the light of the way of the Lord.
This vision is inspiring to all who work, pray and hope for peace, both here in
Jerusalem and throughout the world. The power of all people coming in humility
to learn of God's way of life to turn away from division, violence and war towards
God's way of light provides a vision of hope for the future of all creation.
However, the historical record since Isaiah's vision suggests that war has indeed
been learned and learned too well over many centuries. Blood has run through
the streets of Jerusalem in times past and politically inspired violence continues
in many of her neighborhoods even now. Despite Isaiah's vision; despite the
tears Jesus shed as he overlooked the Holy City; despite centuries of prayers in
the holy places by faithful people, Jerusalem has yet to experience the peace
which Isaiah envisions.
Is the mountaintop too high to ascend? Is it possible to ask people to set aside
old agendas? Is it possible that religious and political leaders can walk together
"in the light of the Lord"? Is it possible for old enemies to no longer learn war
Christians in the Land of the Holy One continue to believe, with all evidence to
the contrary, that all things are possible for those who love the Lord because if
peace is possible here in Jerusalem, peace is possible for everyone.
- The Reverend Canon Robert Edmunds, Chaplain to the Anglican Bishop in
Jerusalem, Canon Pastor of the Cathedral of St. George
For MeditationWhat will it take to make Isaiah's
vision real? Who continues to gain by
keeping the status quo? Who loses
without peace in the Land of the Holy
Lord, help me want to see the
Spirit, guide my feet.
Creator, pick me up when I fail and
give me the strength of will to take
one more step up the mountain.