and Christmas 2009
to God in highest heaven …and on Earth peace…"
weeks in Halifax have been sunny and pleasant. Still, the days are short
and the night is a crisp cool. It seems a long time since June past when
we walked the grounds on top of Montjuic in Barcelona. It was a beautiful
arid sunlit day. We took the cable car to the fortress peak. The vista
overlooking the port city of Barcelona was breathtaking. We could see for
miles. Montjuic is an infamous fortress with a dark history for the people
of Barcelona and the region of Catalunya. The fortifications would remind
any Nova Scotian of the Citadel or York Redoubt. The fortress itself was
the scene of awful atrocities committed by the State during both the
Barcelona Rebellion of 1909 and Franco era Spain. Montjuic housed
political prisoners and saw firing squads. Montjuic Castle, because of its
past, has been chosen as the sight of an International Centre for Peace
dedicated to fostering peace initiatives. Official literature describes
the hopes for the future "The International Centre for Peace will be
a central feature of the new site, occupying principally, the area of the
old parade ground. The centre will be devoted to fostering peace through
dialogue, training, and education, as well as research into conflict
prevention, management and resolution and promoting a culture of
peace." These are values that resonate with a great many Canadians.
has a way of making its presence felt. It seems a long time between a June
day in Barcelona and a late fall day in Nova Scotia. It also seems like a
long time since the values of peace keeping and peace making were front
and centre in Canada's profile in the international community.
Luke, a writer of the Christmas story, understands that the birth of Jesus
Christ has a way of pulling both God's time and human time together into
one decisive moment. At the birth of Jesus a heavenly host sings out
"Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth…"
According to Luke, "heavenly host" means literally "a huge
army from heaven". A peaceful army of angels heralds the birth of
Christ and the birth of a peaceful kingdom. God's will is a reality, not
only in heaven, but on earth as well.
Christmas celebrations, often commercial and private in nature, may seem
very distant from the original Gospel message of social peace. The good
news is that it does not have to be as far off as it may at first appear.
The people of Barcelona are transforming a once mighty fortress prison
into a place that will be a tool for peace. Pray that our celebration of
the birth of the "Prince of Peace" will transform us into a
favored people impatient for peace on God's Earth.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis
kindle we pray in every human heart the true love of peace. Guide with
your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that
justice and peace may increase until the earth is filled with your
covenant love. Amen
--A Bidding Prayer (adapted from the Book of Alternative Services p. 124)