Advent: Paradoxes in favour of peace…

For a child is born to us, A son is given to us; And the government Is upon His shoulder; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  (Colossians 3:15)

On this fourth Sunday of Advent  we  mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Savior in the celebration of Christmas!  This final candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolizes peace.  It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. ” (Luke 2:14)

The paradoxes of the Bible are a wonderous, beauteous and astounding collection of the truth.  And one of the most intriguing is what Chesterton calls “the paradoxes in favor of peace.”  From one end we read that Christ is the coming “Prince of Peace” and from the other end we read:

Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.… (Matthew 10:34)

Christ’s peace is no mere platitude; it is startling!  It first takes hold in a person’s spirit, transforming them into Sons of God which puts them in direct conflict with those who reject Christ and his peace, and then manifests in his Second Coming with a real kingdom to replace this dark world where crying, mourning and death will be no more.  Light has come into the world! (John 3:19)

“The morality of most moralists, ancient and modern, has been one solid and polished cataract of platitudes flowing for ever and ever. That would certainly not be the impression of the imaginary independent outsider studying the New Testament. He would find a number of strange claims; a number of very startling pieces of advice; a number of stunning rebukes; a number of strangely beautiful stories. He would see some very gigantesque figures of speech about the impossibility of threading a needle with a camel or the possibility of throwing a mountain into the sea. He would see a number of very daring simplifications of the difficulties of life; like the advice to shine upon everybody indifferently as does the sunshine or not to worry about the future any more than the birds. He would find on the other hand some passages of almost impenetrable darkness, such as the moral of the parable of the Unjust Steward. He would not find the ordinary platitudes in favour of peace. He would find several paradoxes in favour of peace. He would find several ideals of non-resistance, which taken as they stand would be rather too pacific for any pacifist.”

– G. K. Chesterton, The Riddles of the Gospel, The Everlasting Man, 1925

2 thoughts on “Advent: Paradoxes in favour of peace…

  1. At first it seems like Chesterton takes John 3:19 out of context. “ Light has come into the world! (John 3:19)”, because he doesn’t finish the thought of John3:19 “ but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil”. But considering that his thought is following the thought “ For those who believe …“ we find in (John 3:18). Great spot for meditation.

    1. Always appreciate your insights, John! And thank you for coming to my blog. Its an encouragement to know that Reforming the Line is encouraging others, especially now in our Advent journey. Yes, Chesterton loves to take us in directions we didn’t see, that were always there, but when he points them out to us, they seem jaw-droppingly simple! That is the paradox, the revealed thinking of God whose thinking “is higher than ours” ( Isaiah 55:8-9 ) God bless you and yours this Advent! And if we don’t speak again before the great day, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

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