Jesus, Prince of Peace
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
During the study day which took place at the beginning of November Revd David Deeks invited participants to consider prayer, public and private. He invited us to ask this question when we prepare to pray: “Have I done all I can to make peace with the people I’ve hurt or who have hurt me?” This question mirrors the instruction of Jesus to make peace before offering a gift (Matthew 5:23-24) and his challenge to ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44).
We are now in Advent and preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. David’s question can help us during Advent to be honest before God about the state of our relationships with our neighbours and its impact on our relationship with God. I pray that attending to these relationships can help us to be at peace to truly celebrate the birth of Christ.
On another level, we see daily the devastation caused by conflicts, such as those in Ukraine and Israel-Gaza. We see the humanitarian crisis due to the dangers faced by citizens seeking to live in the midst of conflict and the injuries and tragic loss of life of combatants and civilians. It can be hard to imagine how peace can emerge from such conflicts. Yet, we believe that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ longs for all
people to live in peace with each other; peace in which the lives of each person and the integrity of creation are respected and nobody lives in fear. David’s question can inform our prayer for situations of conflict as we pray that God will enable all people to reflect on the hurt they have inflicted on others and have received from others and what allows an escape from violence fuelled by hatred and revenge.
“Have I done all I can to make peace with the people I’ve hurt or who have hurt me?”
I pray this question may inform and bless our prayers during this holy season of Advent so that we and all people may be empowered to seek peace and live as those who seek to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
I pray that you may have a blessed Christmas and a blessed New Year!