Peace, Peace
The Promise of the Season

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth and good will to all!” – Luke 2:13-14

The angels’ song to the shepherds declaring peace among all people in the second chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel is one of the most beautiful songs in Scripture. It is also one of the most defiant.

Luke begins the chapter with a reminder of who’s in power: Caesar Augustus, one of Rome’s mightiest emperors, and Publius Quirinius, a Roman aristocrat who was the magistrate of both Syria and Judea. Israel was, for all intents and purposes, a defeated nation, oppressed and occupied by the legions of the Roman Empire.

In Luke’s hands, these two powerful rulers serve as the backdrop to his story of the birth of Jesus. In light of Israel’s circumstances, it would be easy to write Luke’s literary device off as laughable. What difference can the birth of a baby possibly make in light of Roman power, violence, and oppression? But Luke’s narrative can also be seen as audacious, even defiant, springing from his deep faith in the God of Israel. For Luke proclaims that in this child, born in utter vulnerability to poor parents of no account, God is at work to save the world. The whole world. Bethlehem. Judea. Rome. Everything. Everyone. And so Jesus’ birth is heralded by a host of angels to counter the Roman host, and rather than enforce a rule of violence they sing of peace.

Defiant hope. Promised peace in a world where peace seems scarce. No wonder this story has spoken to persons of faith through the centuries. For while our circumstances and situations may have changed, our basic human condition has not. We long for peace and we cannot live without hope. When we come together throughout the Christmas season to anticipate and celebrate the birth of Christ, we testify to our deep reliance on the good news of God first heralded by the angelic host and still proclaimed in word and music today. We also testify to our faith that God’s word continues to create defiant hope and promise peace to a world that needs these things more than ever.

This Advent and Christmas season, we gather around the gospel promise of peace: peace in our world, peace in our communities, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts. Words and music will combine to help us recall that God comes to us in Jesus to celebrate our joys and share our burdens and in all ways and things to bring us peace. For this reason, my prayer for you during this time of year is that amid all fervor of the season you will make time to take advantage of the opportunities for worship, fellowship, and service at Mount Olivet. I don’t invite your participation to add one more thing to your calendar, but rather because I covet for you the blessings I believe you will experience as you take time to hear God’s promises of hope and peace once more.

Our celebrations reach their climax on Christmas Eve, with 10 services at the Minneapolis Campus and six at our West Campus (including the addition of a 7pm service to accommodate the growing numbers of folks who want to worship with us). At each service you can expect a traditional and reverent re-telling of the Christmas story through carols, lessons, exceptional music, and proclamation. Additionally, at the final service at each campus we will accent the close of the evening with the congregation singing “Silent Night” by candlelight. On Christmas Day there is a reflective and joyful communion service at 10am at the Minneapolis Campus.

I am so grateful to be joined with you in the ministry and witness of Mount Olivet, and I am particularly grateful that we will have such splendid opportunities to come together and bear witness to the light of the world coming to enlighten our lives with the defiant hope and promised peace first announced by the angels and still sung today. I look forward to seeing you at church.

Pastor Lose 
David J. Lose, Senior Pastor