Signs of the Season
Delivering Christ to a waiting world
by Donna Merow, Ambler
Christmas. I have long been ambivalent about this holy season. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas—the anticipation of Advent, the children’s pageant, singing “Silent Night” by candlelight with guitar accompaniment, the live nativity, the retelling of the familiar story, the making and wrapping of gifts. But I also dread its coming—the gaudy lawn decorations, inane songs like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” blaring from the radio, the excesses of the celebration. I lament with Linus its commercialization and long to discover if the Grinch’s Whoville observation is farther reaching and that it can, indeed, come “without packages, boxes, or bags.” Read more….
Walking in the Way of Peace
Last spring, the Eastern District and Franconia Conference Peace and Justice Committee sent invitations to our congregations for any member, young or old, to write reflections on “Walking in the Way of Peace.” We weren’t sure what response we would receive, but we offered this as one way for people to consider and express how their experience of following Jesus in everyday life led them to reconciling conversations, or choices supporting justice for vulnerable people, or perhaps what tensions they felt in trying to live Christ’s peace. As it turned out, the best submissions did speak of struggle and uneasiness – especially the conflicted feeling of desiring the well-being and fullness of life God intends for us and all creation, and cringing in our awareness of our own part in continuing the gap between God’s dream and our present reality. Thanks be to God that we are not left alone in acknowledging the gap, but live with the Spirit within us, moving among us to create peace that eclipses human understanding! May these two honest reflections feed our common hope in the Prince of Peace, who comes to us in weakness and poverty–that the glory of the Lord would be revealed, and all people would see it together.
Walking in the Way of Peace
by Brenda Shelly, Blooming Glen
I have not opened morning eyes to a place torn by bombs or spent a night without sleep due to violence.
But I long for peace in the devastated dark corners of this trembling globe.
I have not tasted the painful bitterness of losing a loved one to war.
But my heart aches for mothers and wives bearing such a profound and agonizing sting.
Why “walking in the way of peace” requires grace
People hurt people. There is no exception. There are a thousand and one ways in which we hurt one another. And we’re all guilty. We alienate and exclude, and distance ourselves; we give them the silent treatment or rudely dismiss them as inadequate and unimportant; we label and ridicule or nurture distain in our hearts for them; we assume superiority over them, we indulge in profiling and pre-judgment, we take advantage of them, manipulate, cheat, lie, and steal from them, and so-on and so-forth. And so, many become wary, careful in relationships, afraid to get too close, fearful of vulnerability, quietly building invisible protective walls against others.