During the 2018 Advent season, weekly reflections will be posted from the Acting General Secretary and Associate General Secretaries of American Baptist Churches USA. Each reflection will be posted prior to the Sundays in Advent. Below is a reflection written by Associate General Secretary Kevin Walden. Read the reflection posted for the first week of Advent here.
He Is Our Peace
Nearly 25 years ago a small group from our congregation gathered together to listen to a local pastor (Lee Spitzer, now General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA) share his testimony with us. Several things made the testimony special: 1) He came to faith on Christmas Eve; 2) He came to faith in Jesus as Messiah having grown up in a Jewish family; and 3) He highlighted Joseph’s dream with the angel from Matthew, chapter 1 – specifically that Jesus came to set His people free from their sin. (Matthew 1:21) Jesus is our Peace.
In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul describes how Jesus made peace occur. He took the chosen people and those outside the chosen people and made them one through his sacrificial death on the cross. Through Jesus, our broken relationship with God is made whole and holy again, thus showing us not only grace, but granting us peace from the pain of sinfulness.
In a world so troubled with violence and abuse toward one another, we need both His grace and peace more than ever before. We are challenged to show the grace we have experienced. We are challenged to show the love we have been shown. We are challenged to speak the truth as we have heard it spoken. We are challenged to live our lives as Jesus would live our lives if He were us. (Dallas Willard)
What might the Spirit of the Living God speak to you this Advent? Can we be an instrument of His Peace in the midst of brokenness and struggle in our families, communities, nation and world? Peace was ushered into life on Christmas in the most humble of ways.
May the Peace of Christ flow in and through you this advent and always. The reconciling peace of the Gospel.
Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness
American Baptist Churches USA