O King of the nations, the ruler they long for, the cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom You formed out of clay.
Violence and bloodshed seem to lead the evening news nearly every day. Our word is tragically divided, and splitting into greater violence all the time. International tensions, sectarian violence, resistance fighters and independence seekers … sometimes it is enough to make us ask if anyone out there even wants to get along, much less whether or not we ever will.
Even in our own relatively peaceful corner of the world there is little unity. Suspicion and mistrust of those with a different perspective, or a different agenda, are just a prevalent today as they were long before the ideas of tolerance and acceptance were being preached as the virtues of modern multicultural society. The man-made structures seeking peace and unity seem to have no power to accomplish it, while those who sow discord and disunity seem to do so with little or no restrictions.
Deep down, I believe that everyone wants peace … but just not enough to be willing to give up their autonomy to gain it. “We can have peace as long as you are willing to do it my way” in other words. Such a peace can never happen … will never happen. True Unity cannot be brought about unilaterally.
Well, that’s not all-together true. Such a peace and unity can be found unilaterally – but not at the hands of you or me. There is one Leader, one King, who can do it. Who has done it! One cornerstone upon which all our desires for peace and harmony have already been fulfilled – are being fulfilled even now. Jesus.
That unity crosses the boundaries of nation, and people, language, and race. It is a unity I see every Sunday when I look out over God’s people gathered in His house, around the Son and His gifts. Young and old, successful and struggling, men, women, and children of every colour, ethnicity, and background represented. People who otherwise would have nothing in common with each other, standing shoulder to shoulder before the King of Peace. Not by strength of conviction but in the shared experience of the peace that comes through the forgiveness He brings. And in that one glorious sight, in that promise of forgiveness for one and all alike, I have great hope for the coming of true peace and unity in our world.
O come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!