Peace in the Midst of Life: Advent Meditation, 12/4/2012

December 4, 2012
Advent Reflections

Luke 10:21-24

By: Rachel Jones

Peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is
no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and
still be calm in your heart.
— anonymous

Jesus gets kind of weird in Luke 10. He goes from sending the 70 out into the wilds of Judea to cast out demons and tell the story of God, to explaining to Martha that it’s OK to let some details slide every now and then. In the middle of the chapter, Jesus thanks God for revealing truth to simple people, and tells us the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus covers a lot of ground here.

Last Advent, I was in the midst of a huge life transition – one of those that involved a moving truck, lots of boxes, and about 15 gallons of salty tears. I knew that my life was changing, and even though I was very grateful for the change, I felt like EVERYTHING was changing RIGHT THIS MINUTE, and there were moments when I was sure my head was going to explode in a cloud of exhaustion and worry before I ever got a single box packed and ready to move.

I would set myself task lists every night, and before I would let myself go ahead and cry and be sad, I had to get my tasks done. So many times, in the midst of cleaning, packing, organizing, and throwing away, I’d find myself talked out of my crying fit. Putting things in order and seeing that I really could find a little place of peace in between the boxes and heavy conversations made the nights not so dark or scary. Even on nights when I wasn’t able to keep the tears at bay, I was able to find some peace inside the assurance that God was definitely up to something, that I had not been brought this far to be dropped or forgotten.

The peace I was able to curl upside of wasn’t that dovey-hippy-demilitarized kind of peace we so often think of; this peace was certain, solid, and insistent that even though things weren’t OK, or all right, or even close to normal, at some point (because God is good) things would be just right. I think that may be the best thing I’ve ever learned during Advent, maybe one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned as a Jesus person. Things in this life rarely look or sound or feel the way we think they should. We have to reconcile ourselves to living in a broken and dying world, and still have the nerve to fall in love with it, every single day.

We have to live with the hard edges, hurt, and injustice, and be utterly, righteously, and supremely convinced that it will not be this way, forever, that somewhere all is calm and all is bright. We have to be smart enough to be simple-minded in our relentless conviction in the childlike belief that things will get better, will be the way they should be, will be reconciled in ways we cannot possibly fathom or do on our own, so long as we honestly do our part of loving and believing in a God who is greater than we can ask for or imagine.

Prayer for Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Book of Common Prayer, p. 832).