“We light these candles as signs of God’s shocking hope and just peace. May they be beacons calling us to repent and to live the good news of Jesus Christ as we wait and watch and labor for the day when all people can gather together to worship and glorify God. Amen.”
These words from our worship resources speak of the passionate desire for peace with justice within all of us. It is an act of defiance to even call for peace these days, or so it seems. Yet that has been a part of our Advent liturgy for generations. It seems especially compelling today.
The World Methodist Council, through the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem has issued a call for solidarity with Palestinian Christians. Click here to read the newsletter where the invitation appears on page five.
They remind us that for many the second candle is the Peace candle, and that “many of the traditional festive services in the Holy Land will be somber in nature due to the ongoing war.” Methodist churches across the world are invited to consider how to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering. One suggestion is to leave the second candle unlit this year. They provide liturgy that can be introduced alongside the liturgy already planned as a way of explanation. See the newsletter item for more.
There are many ways we can express our solidarity. Not lighting is one way. Another might be to mark the second candle in some way – with a black ribbon, perhaps, for a barbed wire frame like human rights candles in the past. Perhaps there would be space at prayer time to express the desperate need for peace in the Middle East, in Europe, in Africa, and all around the world.
The Worship Team at Discipleship Ministries joins with the World Methodist Council and invites all churches in our tradition to offer prayers and signs and calls for peace in our troubled world. Indeed, as in the candle liturgy we provide, “We wait as people who yearn for peace that bears the fruit of community, equity, and flourishing for all.” Amen and amen.