A quick search on biblegateway.com turns up 247 occurrences of the word “peace” in the New International Version of the Bible. The first one is in Genesis and the last one is in Revelation. “Peace” is in Torah, the historical books, the psalms, the prophets, the gospels, and Paul’s letters. It’s all over the place!
One of the numerous places the word appears is in this week’s Advent prophecy from Micah 5. The one who is promised, the shepherd/king who will come from Bethlehem, will be one of peace, says Micah.
Each week of this season, Campbell UMC’s prayer focus during worship has expanded outward. We began with prayers for our local community, then prayed across Missouri, and last week were in prayer for our nation. This week our focus extends to the entire world.
And it is a world where peace is very hard to come by. Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Northern Ireland – the list of places infected with violence seems to be endless. It is staggering to consider, and we might be tempted into apathy: “What good will our prayers do, after all?”
Well, what if our prayers for peace also submitting ourselves to be agents on behalf of God’s peace? What if our prayers also included offering ourselves to God on behalf of true shalom in this world? What if, rather than wring our hands, we offered them into God’s service?
Could we change the world … on earth as it is in heaven? That’s our prayer, isn’t it? “On earth as it is in heaven.” Pray for peace – then live the prayer.
After all, What ARE we waiting for?