by Christopher Harbin

Justice of Peace
Christopher B. Harbin
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-4; Matt 3:1-12; Romans 15:4-13

"Where have all the flowers gone?" Peter Seeger's lyrics call for pause and reflection on the senseless tragedy of war. They speak of endless cycles of death, loss, and broken dreams. Yet, while they speak against the way of war and violence, they give no hint as to how we might establish peace.
I have heard Seeger's lyrics all my life, but doubt any ever considered him a peacemaker. That he stood against war and for peace seems obvious. That is not the same as making peace. Peace with one another and peace with God must begin somewhere other than viewing war as tragic or futile. Peace must begin with hope that our needs can and will be satisfied. It must begin with hope. The gospel speaks of God hearing us, knowing our needs before we think them. This is the first step to peace. It is the hope for a righteous justice that enables peace. Are we truly concerned with making peace?
It was one more of those hot, dusty, wilderness days. The sun beat down. Sweaty odors added to the oppressive discomfort. The river afforded a break from the heat, speaking hope and release. John the Baptizer spoke to crowds who came out to hear his words. The camel's hair and leather belt bespoke a common man, not the cultured power-broker of social standing. The people saw him as eccentric, but one with a worthwhile message they could not quite grasp. They sensed that here was something they needed, even if they did not understand quite what it was.
John yearned for peace. The nation yearned for peace. It was the longing of his people for generations back. They awaited release, redemption, and a new lease on life. It all seemed illusive. They had yearned for peace and redemption for generations, so far to no avail. Peace seemed mirage, not reality. Back in the days of Isaiah, they were already anticipating peace, freedom from impending oppression, and restora ...

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