Come Now, O Prince of Peace- an Advent devotional for Dec. 13, 2017

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This Advent season I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

Many congregations like mine have mid-week services during Advent as part of a spiritual practice of the season on Wednesday evenings. Tonight’s worship will be kind of a combination of Advent, a healing service, with a sort of “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night” type worship service twist. One of the hymns that we will be singing is “Come Now, O Prince of Peace.” It’s a beautiful and pleading or prayerful Advent tune written and composed by Geonyong Lee, and translated by Marion Pope.

Come now, O Prince of peace, make us one body.
Come, O Lord Jesus, reconcile your people. 

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“Come Now, O Prince of Peace,” words that come to mind as I look at this nativity ornament on our tree from New Mexico.

When I awoke this morning I thought I might be drawn to a happier hymn or carol, given the news out of Alabama. I am grateful for the state for sending Senator elect Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate. I believe this decision was perhaps one in favor of decency and humanity. At the same time, I want to stop and acknowledge where we are as a country and society. We are people who are greatly divided. We are a people who have leaders who have long gotten away with being in positions of authority who manipulate power, and abuse it and also abuse others (especially women). We need to name these injustices, and we need to be better. When we confess these things, there is also than an opportunity for peace, healing, and reconciliation. 

Come now, O God of love, make us one body.
Come, O Lord Jesus, reconcile your people.

As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I had a memory come to mind of a person whom I did not always agree with, and to some extent, struggled to trust. In naming that human feeling, I am hoping that our God of love will help me continue to be reconciled and not hardened of heart. I am sure we all could name people like this if we are honest.

Come now and set us free, O God, our Savior.
Come, O Lord Jesus, reconcile all nations. 

As we journey through Advent, we do so with the hope of not only reconciliation of ourselves to God and to each other, but for reconciliation of communities and nations. It doesn’t take but a second to have nations and communities from around the world come to mind, whom I hope and long for reconciliation with. The freedom that makes these relationships and restored relationships possible, comes through God our Savior.

Come, Hope of unity, make us one body.
Come, O Lord Jesus, reconcile all nations. 

In worship this evening, as we name our hurts, light candles, receive healing prayer, and sing and pray, we do so in the hope that we know in Christ Jesus. We plead to be Christ’s one body, all gathered together near and far. We turn that which ails us or weighs us down, over to God, for guidance, mercy, comfort and healing. And, we hope and long for the day when we can all gather around one table, as all of God’s children. “Come Now, O Prince of Peace, make us one body… Come, Hope of unity, make us one body.” Amen.

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Credit/Reference: Geonyong Lee, “Come Now, O Prince of Peace,” tr. Marion Pope, found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 247.

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