December 22, 2021

December 22, 2021

December 22, 2021

Eric Bronkala
Clergy
Tennessee Valley District

Micah 4:1-5 (NRSV)
Peace and Security through Obedience

4 In days to come
    the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
    and many nations 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 many peoples,
    and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
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;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
    and no one shall make them afraid;
    for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
For all the peoples walk,
    each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
    forever and ever.

Devotion
“Charlie Brown’s Vision Of Peace”

We see here a vision for the future. We are told to envision a world where the things for war are turned into the things for peace; things used for destruction, are used to restore and build up; swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, tanks into tractors.
 
Now perhaps this vision will come into its fullness further down the road. But today, it’s up to us to place seeds of this vision in the world around us. The church is supposed to be an agent of change right now - a balm that heals, instead of a wedge that divides. We can’t be reduced to settling our disputes like everyone else. As is shared in Romans 12:18, we must attempt to pursue peace with everyone, because when we act like the world around us, we drag down the name of God.
 
Stop holding on to grievances and grudges from the past. Let’s put aside our personal agendas for the cause of Christ and serve someone in need, attempting to let our life speak of the things that we talk about during Advent – hope, peace, love and joy. 
 
When I was a boy, I used to love reading the Sunday comics. In one episode of the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy comes in where Charlie Brown is standing and says, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. It’s the season of peace on earth and good will toward men. Therefore, I suggest we forget all our differences and love one another."

Charlie Brown says, "That’s wonderful, Lucy. I’m so glad you said that. But tell me, why should we love each other only during this season of the year? Why can’t we love each other all year long?" Lucy replies, "What are you, a fanatic or something?!"
 
How wonderful our world would be, if we really did share the blessing of peace on earth, good will toward everyone…all year long.

Prayer

Almighty God,
Your love and compassion know no bounds. Guide the nations of the world toward the way of justice and peace. When we face confusion and struggle, help us to turn to the peace that can only be found in your presence. Save us from worry and weariness and help us to center our efforts upon the ordering of our minds, the strengthening of our character, and the serving of both God and neighbor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.