Longing for Peace in a Fear-filled World
We focused our Retreat on the call to be Fearless. This Advent season we are centering on one of its most basic, comforting, challenging ideas: Peace. The two interact together. We start from Isaiah’s celebration of the birth of a child (Handel’s Messiah, Isa 9:6). In the NT this passage echoes in Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth, in Matthew’s description of the start of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is this “Prince of Peace.” But what does it mean?
Isaiah began prophesying in a time of powers pressing in on Judah (Israel, Syria, Assyria). Peace was a dream. A son is born in the Davidic royal family, possibly Hezekiah born to Ahaz. That child is a symbol of hope in a time of disaster. The prophet gives him the long prophetic name: Pele-yoets El-gibor Aviad Shar-shalom. Like the famous prophecy of a virgin conceiving (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23), these words had an impact in their own time.