Pray for Bolivia

Please pray for the country of Bolivia.  Although there has been violence for years now (to say nothing of the myriad of civil wars and military coups), it has been getting worse lately.  It appears the nation is on the brink of yet another civil war, with violence spilling out even in the usually peaceful province of Tarija.

I bring this up for a few reasons.  First, because violence of all types should dishearten us; while I’m not optimistic enough to believe in a completely peaceful world, I believe we must pray to that end.  Second, because we have many Christian brothers and sisters there whose lives are being affected by this.  Finally, because my parents and younger brother minister in Bolivia.  Call it selfish, but I pray they will be safe.

Almighty God,
from whom all thought of truth and peace proceed:
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth be filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for the Peace of the World (Common Worship)

Peace to the World

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:14-21

When Jesus came preaching peace, it was not for one group over another.  He did not come to bring peace to Israel while neglecting the gentile world; similarly, he did not preach peace to the Greeks while abandoning the Jew.  The peace of God that comes from Jesus Christ is for the whole world, for all to experience.  Paul says Jesus broke down “in his flesh the dividing wall” between Jew and Gentile.  The division that stood between us (and therefore, between us and God) is gone, destroyed by the Son of God.  It is because of this that we have peace with all, especially the children of God.

2nd Week of Advent: Peace

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Ephesians 2:14

This second week of Advent we celebrate peace.  There are two ways we can approach this week: 1) peace between God and man and 2) peace between man and man.  Peace between man and God comes because Jesus has bridged the gap between us.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

Peace among all mankind must flow from the peace between God and man.  Without the Almighty’s peace, how can we expect to live in it ourselves?

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:12-14 (emphasis added)

This week we celebrate peace, the peace Jesus brought at his advent.  May the peace of God strengthen your hearts this week.