If I look at the scheduled themes for the month of November, I can turn them into a single sentence: God is the God of the Living, and we are called to Prepare to Testify that The Prince of Peace Reigns. (The fourth week of November, the 27th, is actually part of the Advent season.)
Themes used throughout a month are always related. However, it is not always that the themes can be turned into a single sentence. But, I feel that this is a significant sentence, especially to Christians. Let’s look at this idea.
God is the God of the Living. Many religions relegate God to the afterlife. In these theologies, when we die, we die to God’s judgement, where we are gifted with eternal life in God’s presence or we are condemned to eternal death in Hell. But, wait! God is God of the living. God created YOU and ME to be in God’s presence in our everyday life. Every aspect of our spiritual, our social, and our physical life is of the highest concern to God. Every breath we take, every move we make – God will walk with you. And it is God’s plan that all your eternity will be in God’s presence.
That is the God of the living.
People find themselves living in a world of great turmoil. An example of this can be found in the so-often heard question, “Why does God allow so many cruel things to happen to innocent people?” All of us are troubled by witnessing or even receiving acts of hatred – how can God allow this? Because God can seem to be so different and far away from humans, God’s plan included sending Jesus to show us a Shalom that we call the peace that passeth understanding. Or sometimes, we hear it called peace, but not as the world knows peace.
At Jesus’ birth, we hear the prophet Isaiah call Jesus the Prince of Peace. Jesus came to bring a Shalom that calls us to live a life, today, that is the peace of God’s Kingdom. In God’s kingdom, bad things do still happen, but God’s children support each other, work to heal each other, and work incessantly for the daily presence of God’s plan in our daily life.
I don’t believe that the Kingdom of God will be a society where hunger does not happen to children. I do believe that the Kingdom of God will be a society where when hunger descends on a child, the society of God’s Kingdom will be one that responds to end the child’s hunger. This brings the Peace that Jesus offers us and calls us to seek. This is the way of life that proves that The Prince of Peace Reigns.
Lastly, the world needs to know that God of the Living did, indeed, send the Prince of Peace to reign in our daily life. And our part of this requires that we become prepared to testify that the Kingdom of God is among us. We can live a way of life that shows clearly that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. Eternal life is not limited to the afterlife, and neither is God. Let us testify that Jesus calls us to God’s Shalom, God’s Peace here, now, today.
by Jim Burdick