I keep thinking of Christmas carols this week.  Maybe it’s the crisp edge on the air in the mornings as I nurse my coffee.  Maybe it’s the Apple Chai candle I busted out this week.  Maybe it’s that the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks.

But I think it’s because I’ve been praying for peace.

Pray for peace people everywhere,
Listen to what I say
The Child, the Child
sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light

And in despair I bowed my head
‘there is no peace on earth’ I said
‘for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth good will to men

then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor doth He sleep
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth good will to men

I don’t remember a time in my life when I’ve prayed so much or so fervently for peace.  For shalom to come.  For God’s kingdom to finally, fully breakthrough.

As we pray for peace, these thoughts on Syria

In Which Redemptive Violence is a Myth for Syria
“As followers of Jesus, we are meant to live the ways of our Saviour into every corner of our existence. In this instance, I support and engage with efforts advocating for immediate care of refugees, worldwide diplomatic pressure and dialogue, particularly with Syria’s neighbours and allies, and a strong commitment to the practice of non-violence. We should be the voices and hands of peace making in our world. Walter Wink calls this “the third way” – the action alternative from military intervention and isolationism.”

Hello, Heritage. Goodbye, War.
“I bear witness to this God who hears the cry of the oppressed.
I bear witness to the work and heart of a Beautiful God who carries our shame and, as we hand it over, exchanges it for glory.
…It’s in this place that I still get to stand and invite you to pray with us–a throng of barefoot, audacious pray-ers–believing we are joining our cries with the cries of the oppressed and God will hear our prayers.”

A Letter from the Trappist Nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts”
“They are trying to kill hope, but we must hold on to it with all our might.”

Praying for Peace with Pope Francis
“Holy Gardner
peel back the bitter layers
or our withering hearts
that the tender petals of patience
may quiver in the light of your love.”

Other good reads from around the web

25 Biblical Roles for Biblical Women
“What is a timeless principle is that both men and women should be taking their lead from Jesus.  We should be emulating his character, as well as displaying and using the fruit and gifts of his Holy Spirit to actively bless our families and the church, and to further God’s kingdom.  We should be careful that we don’t limit people or promote passivity.”

When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids
“He continued, ‘It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate…It might be argued that I’ve been out of school too long, that if I’d actually been in the 10th grade prior to taking the test, the material would have been fresh. But doesn’t that miss the point? A test that can determine a student’s future life chances should surely relate in some practical way to the requirements of life. I can’t see how that could possibly be true of the test I took.'”

Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son
“A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention.  You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being.  On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you.  You need to be in control of you.”

Miscalculating Racism: Life on a Christian College Campus
“What I was left with, as I reflected over my own experience, was that my time at this mostly white Christian college was harsher than my time at the mostly white suburban public school. But how could that be? How could my time among white Christians have been filled with more racial prejudice and hostility than among white non-Christians?”

Open Letter to New Testament Students
 “I promise to leave you with a Jesus who is worth following, a Christian vocation that’s worth risking your life on, and a Bible that will guide you toward both.”

My most-read post this week:
Spiritual Disciplines for Kids: Why?

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