I tend to be an optimistic person, but even I look around and see the brokenness of our world and wonder if it has ever been this bad before. War, racism, sexual abuse, corrupt leaders, deep and angry cultural divisions . . . these problems and so many more plague our daily headlines. This is certainly not the world that God intended in Genesis 1 when God looked at all that was made and called it “good”, and it is not the world Christ came to re-create. As our world spirals further downward, despair finds us all too easily, and hopelessness plunges over us like a blanket of darkness. In the midst of such darkness, it is most helpful to remember the words of the Psalmist who, like so many of the Psalmists and prophets, looked forward to a day of redemption when God’s world would be as God intended it. In today’s Psalm, the Psalmist looks forward to a time when the Lord will speak peace to God’s people, and when salvation will come. What does that salvation look like? The Psalmist uses many wonderful images:
“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet.”
“Righteousness and peace will kiss each other.”
“Faithfulness will spring up from the ground.”
“Righteousness will look down from the sky.”
Take time to read each of those phrases, meditating slowly over each. Pray over those phrases.
Things like steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace are in far too short supply these days. We all look forward to the day where they not only abound, but where they are so abundant that the only way to describe such a world is one in which they simply sprout up from the ground like the creation itself, or fall from the sky like manna in the wilderness. They will kiss each other. If ever such a world will exist, it will exist in the Christ child, one who comes not with a sword or the fires of judgment from heaven, but a vulnerable newborn who comes bringing peace, righteousness, and steadfast love. On that first Christmas day as a baby made an obscure entrance into the world, righteousness and peace kissed each other. When Christ breaks into your world and my world even now, righteousness and peace kiss each other. And these moments are a foreshadowing, a down payment, a promissory note, for a redemption yet to come, one where Christ reigns and righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
LET US PRAY
Christ, as we pray over these phrases from the Psalmist today, may you, and we, work to bring such a kingdom to earth, both now and forever. Amen.
Chad Hartsock teaches New Testament at Carson-Newman. He is husband to Ami and father to Kaylin. “During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to time spent playing with my daughter, whose joy and spirit reminds me of everything the world ought to be.”