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Pastoral Letter: December 17, 2021

"And He shall be the one of peace"

--Micah 5: 5--

The day draws near. The time will soon be right, and we will remember the promise of peace God has given long ago as if it was yesterday. The day draws near, and the dawn will break upon the reality of promises made and fulfilled even if we do not see the obvious signs.

The earth is the Lord’s.

It has always been so.

Christ the Messiah is our Prince of Peace, and his throne shall last forever. Christ our Lord sits on his throne now and for always.

We could all certainly use a bit more peace.

What is peace though? Is it having all your needs met? Is it having all your wishes fulfilled? Is it being in control? Is it having the power to decide? Is it an absence of strife? Is it a lack of opposition to our will? What is peace?

Biblically speaking the reign of the Messiah is not clouds and harps. That imagery is never used in the biblical texts. We do not get promoted to angels, we are not given halos and wings, all of that is imagination divorced from scripture.

Peace, in the Kingdom of God, is described as each of us having a plot of land to work as we see fit. The work is not described as taxing or difficult it is not described in any way. The fruit of those labors, however; is described. An abundant vineyard, trees fruiting plentifully. A purpose for everyone and rewards for every purpose. Peace, in the Kingdom of God, is having our place and having a purpose. It isn’t endless toil and drudgery it also isn’t a life of leisure. At best, life in the Kingdom of God appears to be creative artistry and we are all to become artisans crafting beauty into all our endeavors.

Which makes a certain amount of sense.

We are, each of us, fashioned and created in God’s image and likeness. Our God is a Creator so therefore we must be creative. And the peace of God’s Kingdom is the freedom to be creative in various ways.

Creative artistically, God gave such a gift to those who would construct and adorn the temple.

Creative poetically, we have an entire book of scripture consisting of 150 poems written about the worship of God. We have another entire book of scripture comprised of love letters between the beloved and the lover.

Jesus’ works of power (miracles) show an amazingly beautiful talent for creativity. A man born blind receives his sight after a poultice of spit and dust is made and applied to his eyes. What is not creative about the raising of Lazarus or Jairus’ daughter?

The sacrifices brought into the temple year after year after year were described as “first-fruits” meaning the very best so even agriculturally there is creativity in producing beautiful produce. But you know that. You pick over food in the supermarket looking for that beauty grumbling not when you find it but when you can’t.

Peace is a time and a place where all of that happens and all of us acknowledge that creativity for the beauty it represents and the homage it pays to our own Creator. Peace is the love and care that we invest into making a beautiful home, or a beautiful meal, or a beautiful time together. The absence of that peace suggests that either we are not engaged in crafting beauty or that we cannot identify beauty in what we create. We are still disciples and not masters ourselves so there is time for us to learn how to do both ahead of us.

Enjoy the peacefulness of creativity. Look to produce beauty in all that you do. And if that taxes, Peace includes resting in the presence of God.

May God bless you, your homes, and your families with peace this Advent Season!

-Reverend John Maich

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