What was the message those angels sang
that sent the shepherds hurrying through the night?
Peace on earth!
It's a message that still inspires us to go looking,
especially now in the midst of this world's deep troubles.
No need to make a list of the wars and conflicts
around the globe and in our back yards—
we know them all too well.
A week ago we gathered
in celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Just a week.
Already we notice some folks
who have forgotten the message of the angels
that the world stopped to remember and celebrate:
peace on earth!
Today is the “World Day of Peace,”
started by Paul VI,
the pope who gave us that great bumper sticker of the '60s,
“If you want peace, work for justice!”
In this year's message,
Pope Francis insists that peace is possible
where the rights of every human being
are recognized and respected, heard and known,
according to freedom and justice.
He calls us to “overcome indifference and win peace.”
One of the deep beliefs that come to us
as we ponder the meaning of Christmas
is that Jesus reveals truth to us.
We call him Emmanuel—the revelation of God-with-us.
That word revelation comes from the Latin revelare,
which means “to lift the veil.”
Jesus lifts the veil
not to show us an exclusive truth
but to show us the most inclusive of truths,
that we, and all of creation, are made of God.
His followers rightly recognized his divinity,
the sacredness of his commitment to God-ness
and his teaching and his life,
of his very being,
the same sacredness that is the hidden ground of all being.
We have been taught about the divinity in Jesus,
truly God and truly human.
What we have missed for centuries
is the truth that we really are his sisters and brothers,
sharing that same Godliness in the ground of our being.
We have been asleep to who we truly are,
people made of the One God,
in relationship with one another and with all that exists.
You all know Anne Abowd, gentle quiet little Anne,
with her big smile and welcoming heart
and that curly hair that Tom loves to tell
was the thing that made him say at first sight
that she was the one for him.
Anne, a woman of peace.
Last week she was telling me about when she got arrested
and how she gained strength and courage
from the story about Thoreau being in the same position.
He had been jailed for refusing to pay a tax
that he believed went to paying for an unjust war.
His friend Emerson went to visit him, and asked,
"What are you doing in there?"
Thoreau responded with "Waldo, the question is,
'What are you doing out there?'”
That's what we all have asked ourselves:
what are we doing? how are we being?
Because we try to be Christians,
to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace,
we have answered the question
by the choices we make for peace in our lives.
We are each of us different—
introverts and extroverts,
younger and older,
demonstrators and pray-ers—
but all of us with the same divine nature.
Today we start a new year on the calendar, a new beginning.
Our daily experiences of work, home, job, and relationships
have taught us that we need more than a “peace day”
in our world.
We need a peace life.
We got up this morning, as with every morning,
resolved to be true to our beliefs—
however we express those beliefs—
in equality, inclusiveness, sharing for the common good,
So we step out in faith.
We might not have a list of New Year's resolutions,
but we have a direction and a commitment
to go forward with courage
because we understand
that God isn't just out there somewhere
but in here, in us, in everywhere.
With all of creation, with our brother Jesus,
we are unique expressions of the divine,
and we greet 2016 with the confidence
to live in the truth
that is the source and ground of our very being.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006