As we head towards Christmas and celebrate the Prince of Peace coming into the world, it is hard to rationalise this truth with the world news that points to ever increasing violence and suffering. Some would even say it is utopian to imagine a world without conflict, suffering, injustice and poverty.
As we continue to pray for the DRC, and especially Beni, as they face atrocities that appear to be driven by those who seek economic benefit from instability, it is difficult to imagine peace for communities there. In a world in need of food, clean water, shelter and health access, we are astounded to see how much money goes into military activities. Societies even vote for leaders who promise to increase military expenditure!
How do we speak peace/shalom into contexts like these?
We can hope for the promise of peace when Christ returns. (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3; Psalm 46:8-10). Revelation paints an exciting picture of wealth being shared, of no more death, no more war, no more suffering. The presence of the tree of life whose leaves will be used to heal the nations (Revelation 22:2) gives us a sense of hope and anticipation.
More than that – the level of reconciliation that God promises is one in which the lion and lamb lie down together (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25).
This redemption and restoration includes not only humanity but all of creation, which we know is groaning for this to happen (Romans 8:22). We read in Revelation 5:13-14 that all creatures will be praising God.
What a joyful future to imagine, to hope for, to believe in and to move towards!
But what about today?
On the one hand we lament and protest against the injustice, the suffering, the conflict, and the poverty we see today, but on the other hand we rejoice in the knowledge that God will defeat evil and will bring peace.
Ambassadors and Servants
We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors of this New Kingdom. In everything we do and say we represent to our hurting world the truth of the new Kingdom and we live in its reality so that wherever we are, we are salt and light for people to taste and see the tangible evidence. We are also servants and follow in our Master’s footsteps to bring liberation, freedom, healing, comfort and hope to all around us. Jesus had time for the one in the crowd who needed his healing, as well as for the 5,000 on the hillside who needed to be fed.
As we pray, lament, protest and rejoice we declare the Kingdom of God, we proclaim the Good News in a world that so needs this truth.
Come, let’s walk together!
By Sheryl Haw