From Pursuing the Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
God with us, Immanuel, Your stated purpose for Your Incarnation and all that it entailed—Your birth, Your crucifixion, Your resurrection, Your ascension, the sending of Your Spirit—was to establish peace.
You are the peace. The peace You offer is not something separate fromYourself. The peace You offer is entirely based on who You are. Who You are is all that matters.
When Your messenger came to Mary, as recorded in Luke 1, Your message was a bit unsettling: “Do not fear. I am about to upend your life and make you centerstage for My divine drama, but do not fear.” Mary had one question: “How can this be?” (v. 34). You had one answer: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35). Mary wanted to know how, but You only told her who.
“Our faith does not provide us with an answer, but with a Person. When Mary sought an explanation, what she got was a revelation,” Brantley reminds me Dean.according to my son Brantley.
I imagine how Mary might have reacted had You explained to her Mary the how of Your plan. How would I respond to the most complex explanation of the most intricate matter regarding a subject of which I am wholly ignorant? That would sound like baby talk compared to an explanation about how You would come as a little baby fashioned in the womb of a virgin. The how would not have brought peace to Mary’s heart, but the who caused a peace that surpassed understanding to stand guard over her heart (Philippians 4:7).
When anxiety tries to lay claim to my thoughts, when fear seeks a foothold in my mind, when confusion threatens to make a stand in my heart, I look to You, I seek Your face. You are all the antidote I need to anything that might steal my peace.
You will keep in perfect peace
the mind that is dependent on You,
for it is trusting in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!
You came to me. You, the Unknowable made Yourself known. The Invisible made Yourself visible. The Invulnerable made Yourself vulnerable. The Unapproachable approached.
No frantic seeking was required. No ceremonies and rituals were necessary. You, for whom our souls long, have eternally been longing for us. With all our anxious looking about, You were always there. Your presence is peace.
I found You in the spaces in between
I found You in the dark and not the light
I looked for You in drama
In the earthquake and the fire
And found You in the quiet,
You were waiting for me there.
I looked for You in miracles
In the loud, in voices raised
I looked for You in gatherings
In signs, in prayer and praise
But I found you in the gentle breeze
The still small voice, the darkened cave.
I found you in the spaces
Between sleeping and awake
I found you in the waiting
The worry, in the fear
I found You in the sleepless night
I found You in despair
I found You in the questions
No loud answers anywhere
I found You in the silence
Silence full not silence void
I found You in the spaces
You were looking for me there.
—poem by Rachel Holley, © 2007