Two words have led me to contemplate the aspect of welcoming God in our lives. The words are peace and Emmanuel. In welcoming another King, the Magi were visited by the angel of the Lord who accorded them safe passage to and fro their own homes. Herod on the other hand did not welcome the King born among Jews and with his evil mind killed all children below two years! God is both a host and guest in our hearts. We have to accord God appropriate welcome, do what He commands us to do and that way live or lead a peaceful life. This fact was the bulk of all the interactions between God and Humans from Genesis to present day.
Moses, one of the greatest prophets drew a chart on our relations and co-existence with God. In Deuteronomy 29 and 30, one meets five crucial points we as humans will have to follow to have peace enduring in our midst: acknowledge God’s presence; belief in God by divesting all manner of doubt about God; practicing God’s commandments especially that of love; heeding to God’s word and; turning to God with whole of our heart and soul.
Fast forward to the New Testament, we meet Luke in 10: 5-16 showing to us what would make peace endure in our midst when Jesus sent out the 72. We see that peace on inhabitants is possible but we also see the repercussions awaiting non-admittance. God comes first if we want peace to hold fast. Nothing will prevail before God is allowed to take control.
In Joshua 6:5, Jericho one of the most solidly fortified of cities fell, its walls crumbled when they denied entrance to the Jews. A blast of the ram’s horns tore down the walls that were so impregnable! In Joshua 8: 18 we see Joshua accepting to go by God’s advice in warfare and this gets him victory at Ai.
In Genesis 18: 10-15 we see that God comes to us always with good news. Sarah learns of her possibility for child-birth but scorns the news. This did not please God. Sarah went on to give birth indeed. In Genesis 18: 16-19 Abraham welcomed God in his life and we see in subsequent passages God acknowledging Abraham and rewarded for his steadfastness to God. In receiving God, we need to be appropriate and conduct ourselves in good stead. In Genesis 19: 1-17 Sodom and Gomorrah were some of the cities where God’s chosen prophets preached. Abraham learnt of their destruction and put in effort to warn and plead for them. But the Sodomites and Gommorahites were busy with bodily enjoyments including gangs that disturbed the peace of neighborhoods. In this passage one reads about what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah as a result of treating Lot’s guests unwelcomingly.
In the 21st Century, we have everything that points to God’s existence. What we have not learnt so well is ourselves. We are so busy getting adept at knowing so many things but ourselves. In his small pocket book, Raymond F. Dlugos, PhD (Finding God in Anger, fear, sadness and shame. 2008), shows us how we can Welcome God in our life through understanding our own emotions and taming them to listen to God. Anger, fear, sadness, shame, violence, despair, separateness by standards of living, racially-biased prejudices and pride hold us as individuals in the chains that in turn make us fail to welcome God. Acts of mercy, humility, trust, compassion, gratitude and a profound awareness of humanity we share with the rest of the world hold us fast to values that in turn make for deeper peace. In a situation Okaying a band-wagon hubris and peer pressure, we are called upon to first and foremost hold individuals to account for their actions. Thus is peace among us and with us (Emmanuel).