Sunday, January 17, 2016

In the Way of Peace

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
  ruler of all things in heaven and on earth,
listen favorably to the prayer of your people,
  and grant us your peace in our day.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

Lots of liturgical prayers, including this Sunday's Collect, are petitions for peace, at least this suggestion keeps coming home to me repeatedly, quite strongly and for whatever reason. Peace keeping and peace making have always struck me as energetic actions, which demand and make understandable a certain amount of policing. Nonetheless, without attempting either to deny or escape our stewardship/enforcement responsibilities in favor of good order at home, in society, in the Church or wherever, the teaching coming to mind from today's collect has to do very clearly with our dependence upon God in Jesus Christ. How this is to happen can be beautifully extrapolated from the Virgin Birth, as well as from the Son of God's lavish, but oh so discreet, miracle of transforming plain water into choice wine at the wedding feast in Cana, in our Gospel for today. For me, the overall lesson is one of hopefulness, of confidence in the Lord of Life and in His power to save.

For me the Christian life is very much about receptivity to favor bestowed upon us by God; what is the Blessed Mother urging in today's Gospel if not receptivity to the person and work of her Divine Son? The First reading from Isaiah 62:1-5 helps therewith:

"About Zion I will not be silent, about Jerusalem I will not grow weary,
until her integrity shines out like the dawn and her salvation flames like a torch.
The nations then will see your integrity, all the kings your glory,
and you will be called by a new name, one which the mouth of the Lord will confer.
You are to be a crown of splendor in the hand of the Lord,
a princely diadem in the hand of your God; no longer are you to be named ‘Forsaken’,
nor your land ‘Abandoned’, but you shall be called ‘My Delight’ and your land ‘The Wedded’;
for the Lord takes delight in you and your land will have its wedding.
Like a young man marrying a virgin, so will the one who built you wed you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you."

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