The Rev Rant Wednesday, December 5, 2018 Luke 3:1-6
Greetings siblings in Christ,
Forgiveness is peace.
This week is the second Sunday of Advent and we light the peace candle. The Hebrew word for peace, "shalom",is also the word for wholeness. Peace is more than the absence of war, conflict, and disturbance. It is the moment of healing when self and relationships are joyously united.
The passage introducing John's ministry highlights the primary message of "repentance...and forgiveness of sins." The unity of self and relationships to others and God require the turning away from our rejection of others as well as the need to find healing from pain that has been inflicted. These are the mountains, hills, and valleys that separate us from God. We are unable to find unity with God leaving untended the wounds that distance us from our human siblings.
There are a plethora of personal examples. Co-workers, family members, and non-attentive strangers challenge us to find reconciliation. These parallel the symptomatic communal challenges we face finding peaceful relationships with people of different beliefs, different sexualities and genders, races, ethnicities, economic circumstances, languages, and cultures. We only need to look to our countries border to realize the immense difficulties of living out the human unity required to discover Christ's peace.
The answer lies in Luke's rendition of Isaiah's words. The prophet speaks of a journey through leveled land to find God's universal redemption. Our peace begins imagining our lives and our relationships as the power to travel to find oneness with God. No matter how hard we try any unresolved pain, concern or rejection is impassable. Our yearning and work to be healed of any transgression, to seek forgiveness for any wrong done, and to move toward sharing life with all, especially those who are on the outside of our communities, propel us down the cleared path to live with God. Our renewed commitment to shalom, to wholeness with self, other, and the Divine, is peace.