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On The Upper Room Discourse Re-Release For Lent 2024

The Third Sunday of Advent- December 11

PREPARATION: lighting the candle and readying myself to listen.

REFLECTION:

For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
Romans 5:10

“Peace.” That is a word you are likely going to see and hear a lot during Advent. You will see “Peace” on banners, decorations, billboards, television commercials, and Christmas and Hannukah cards. The world longs for “Peace”, and it comes in many spellings. People in the Ukraine hope and pray for “Myr”. People on the Korean peninsula want “Phyongh/wa”, while in the Middle East people wish for “Shalom” and “Salaam”. However it is spelled, there is no peace greater than peace with God, the source and goal of our lives.

Today’s scripture is remarkable for its declaration of peace for all of God’s enemies. It reveals that while we were God’s enemies, by our very nature and actions, He has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus’ death. The Greek word translated “reconciled” is katallasso, denoting a change that has taken place: we who were enemies are brought into a state of peace with God through Immanuel.

The Greek verb is in the ‘aorist tense’, indicating that an action in the past has been completed. Our reconciliation is accomplished! Finished! The verb is also in the passive voice indicating that reconciliation is something that has been done for us, rather than something we have done. God has done it! We are objects of God’s reconciliation and not the subjects! We were reconciled to God and not God to us, as God has always loved us. God has always longed for His enemies to be brought into intimate relationship with Him. It was we who turned from God, and not God from us. Unasked, undesired, undeserved: God has made peace with you and me even while we were His enemies. This is true for us whether we believe it or not.

In this same chapter of Romans, Paul reminds us that “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No change in God’s attitude towards us was needed before God sent His Son to die for us. Thomas Torrance describes the utter depths into which God sent His Son to be Immanuel:

In Jesus God himself descended to the very bottom of our human existence where we are alienated and antagonistic, into the very hell of our godlessness and despair, laying fast hold of us and taking our cursed condition upon himself, in order to embrace us forever in his reconciling love. (Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ)

In today’s scripture, Paul calls for some imagination. If God could do so much for us through Jesus’ death, imagine how much more He can do for us through Jesus’ resurrected life! Then imagine this: if God could do so much for us when we were His enemies, how much more He can do for us as His reconciled children! This is real peace! Here is how The Message translates Paul’s compelling words: If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!”

For a nation and world so longing for real peace, let us join heaven’s chorus of angels this Advent:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled…
Christ is born in Bethlehem!”


CONVERSATION: I talk with God about the thoughts and feelings stirring within.

REST: I take time to be present to Immanuel who is present to me.

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