Tag Archives: war

Sorrow #Advent

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky 01

It can seem at times so hard to find any hope in the world, any glimmer of a different future, perhaps especially today, of a time when war and troubles are over, when sorrow has ended.

One thing the Old Testament show us is that Twas Ever Thus.  Humanity has always done a good job of causing trouble for one another – mistreating, making enemies, creating disaster – generally trying to prove who is bigger, stronger and making the life of the weak and vulnerable even more precarious.

Into this God spoke.  Into this God continues to speak.  The Advent message of hope is as needed today as it was when the prophets first spoke it.  God promises that this will end.

Why hasn’t he yet?  Perhaps we haven’t given him chance, allowed him to.  God is trying to stop wars and we keep starting them.  We are still intent on proving who is better, more right – and we fail to live with one another, with tensions and different opinions.  We struggle to do it over even small things, so no wonder we can’t do it over international conflict.  And when weapons get involved, there will only be one end – more hurt, more destruction, more suffering for those who didn’t start anything.

Yet still God continues to stand with us, weep with and for us, and promise an end – just as soon as we let him.  Sorrow will end.  We will be safely home.

God will lead us home and we will be safely blessed – that is our Advent hope.

What am I doing to work with him?

O Lord,
I know you weep over humanity,
you are distraught
at the things we do to one another.

You promise to bring us home
to a place of safety
and joy,
but we carry on the fighting,
and wonder why you aren’t doing something.

Forgive me Lord
for the part I play
in keeping anger and oppression going.

and tomorrow
may I work with you
to bring an end
that we may be able
to come home to you.

The theme of the first week in Advent is The Day of the Lord.  We look forward to the coming of that day.

Zephaniah 3:14-20


A Song of Celebration

14 Everyone in Jerusalem and Judah,
celebrate and shout
    with all your heart!
15 Zion, your punishment is over.
The Lord has forced your enemies
    to turn and retreat.
Your Lord is King of Israel
    and stands at your side;
you don’t have to worry
    about any more troubles.

16 Jerusalem, the time is coming,
    when it will be said to you:
“Don’t be discouraged
    or grow weak from fear!
17 The Lord your God
wins victory after victory
    and is always with you.
He celebrates and sings
    because of you,
and he will refresh your life
    with his love.”

The Lord’s Promise to His People

18 The Lord has promised:
Your sorrow has ended,
    and you can celebrate.
19 I will punish those
    who mistreat you.
I will bring together the lame
    and the outcasts,
then they will be praised,
instead of despised,
    in every country on earth.
20 I will lead you home,
    and with your own eyes
you will see me bless you
    with all you once owned.
Then you will be famous
    everywhere on this earth.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

O Lord the Clouds are Gathering

Where is God? What about Me?

By Boris Niehaus (www.1just.de) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
We only need to catch a snippet of any news at the moment, to think that the world has gone mad – and bad.  Fighting, killing, hostage taking, displacement of people from their homes – general inhumanity to one another.  What are we doing?  Our minds are troubled and our hearts break.

To some, this also raises the question, ‘What is God doing?’, ‘Where is he?’, ‘Why is he allowing this?’

My answer to that is that his heart is breaking too.

For God is not allowing all this – people are.  It is not God that is taking up arms, persecuting, massacring – but human beings.

Could God step in and stop it?  Don’t you think he’s trying to?  But for that it needs the people involved to respond.  God is not the one with the weapons in his hands – human beings are.  However much he might want them to stop, he can’t make them.  He can plead with them, but do they hear?  He might show them his way, but do they listen?  And if they hear do they respond?  And if some do, are there not many more who will step into their place in hatred and thinking they are right.

It is  a responsibility of each one of us to listen for God’s voice on our actions, and to respond accordingly.  The same applies in our own lives, however small we think they are.  We might get upset about the atrocities we see very vividly portrayed on our screen – quite rightly, but do we also consider the way we behave?  The minor wars we rage in our lives?  The need for our way to be right?  The shunning and side-lining of those we don’t agree with.  That is how wars and persecution start – it is just a matter of scale.

Where is God in these situations, big and small?  He is gently whispering, and loudly shouting, into our hearts and minds.  Stop that.  Choose love.  Talk to each other.  Live my way.

Love one another as I have loved you

Oh Lord,
my heart breaks,
for the madness,
the cruelty,
the injustice
I see in the world.

But I know that your heart
is breaking much more.
You know these people,
and love them dearly.

So Lord,
I beg you,
not to do something,
for I know you are;
but for them to hear,
and do something
to make evil,
and inhumanity to stop.
not temporary cease-fires,
but change
of heart and mind.

And Lord,
as I look on the ‘big’ situations,
may I think too
on my actions,
where I am,
each day.

May I too
hear your voice
in the way I treat others.

in your mercy,
give us all
hearts and lives of love