Advent Week 3: Enduring the Darkness: Light the Candle of Peace

by Churches for Middle East Peace

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

As we enter into the third week of the Advent season, we light the candle of peace.

Peace for men, women, and children around the world who are living in desperate circumstances. Peace in the hearts and minds of those who are hurting and suffering pain and deep loss. Peace in the midst of an ongoing occupation and in a region wrought with great conflict. Peace in a region where fear often seems to prevail.

This week, may we intentionally entering into the spirit of Advent by committing to pray for peace.

This past week, I had the privilege of hearing a devotional led by Franciscan priest, Father Richard Rohr. He spoke to our group of Christian leaders about the spiritual practice of “Enduring the Darkness.” His message challenged his listeners to develop a theology of darkness; a study of the nature of how the divine interacts with His creation in the midst of darkness, violence, emptiness, and challenging times. The main point I took away from Father Rohr’s message was that faith not only teaches us, but requires us to learn how to live in the midst of the darkness. As Christians, we must better learn how to ENDURE THE DARKNESS.

Throughout the Scriptures, God does not promise to immediately deliver us from darkness; rather He assures us that we have peace in the midst of trials. In the world we will have trouble, but God assures us that in the midst of our troubles – and in the midst of the troubles of the world – we might have peace.

The strength of God allows us to endure in the darkness, as we wait in anticipation for the light to come.

As we light the candle of peace, may we say the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.