The Prince of Peace in a World of Wars

Applying the message of God's love to a needy world

David Kerrigan

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This is a slim book which contains substantial material to make us think in new ways and may well lead us to act differently.
The Methodist Recorder, November 2018

Content

The BRF Advent book for 2018.

David Kerrigan sees the coming of Jesus at Christmas as central to the divine plan to bring peace to the world. Through daily reflection on biblical texts and mission stories, he locates God at the centre of our mission and encourages us to restore the peace, joy and hope that come from accompanying Jesus.

The biblical title 'Prince of Peace' leaves us in no doubt that God's purpose in Jesus Christ is to bring peace - universal peace, both with God and with our neighbours. But have we really understood what this peace might look like, especially in a world of wars and suffering?

Endorsements

This is a slim book which contains substantial material to make us think in new ways and may well lead us to act differently.
The Methodist Recorder, November 2018

Author info

Until 2017, David Kerrigan was General Director of BMS World Mission. Previously, he and his wife Janet worked as missionaries in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He also pastored a church in Exeter. He is an elder in his local church, the Chair of the Council at Spurgeon's College, London, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance.

Reviews

Baptist Times, 30.10.18. Review by Andrew Kleissner

'David Kerrigan's excellent and realistic book takes its readers on an unusual Advent journey which offers no trite answers.'

David Kerrigan was eight years old and he was scared. For it was 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis threatened to destroy the world. He cuddled his baby brother while listening to the radio and found his childhood peace being profoundly disturbed.

The subject of peace is in the forefront of our minds as we commemorate the end of World War 1. Yet our world is not at peace: even in places where warfare is not raging there is conflict within nations, families and ourselves - alongside moments of great joy. In this short book of Advent reflections David shows us that peace is not just a fragile stillness but something which can envelop us as we ride the rollercoaster of life.

He begins with a section entitled 'Understanding peace'; this unexpectedly starts on the night of the Last Supper. But this is a strange night which exemplifies tension and unease, with the sense that a storm is about to break and the fear that Jesus will soon leave his disciples. To them - and to us - he promises his continuous peace-giving presence.

We then return to the beginning, to God who promises peace 'which passes all understanding'. The author challenges our small preconceptions by stating that this encompasses every atom and molecule, man and woman, animal and plant, mountain and river, every pale blue dot representing planet Earth in the cosmos and every other dot flung into the far reaches of space. The whole of creation has become unbalanced and only the coming of Jesus makes it possible for equilibrium to be restored.

The second section of this book invites us to consider a variety of Bible characters who experienced divine peace. Among others we meet Joseph, who suffered the cruelty of his brothers; Ruth, who had to make life-changing decisions; Hannah, who found peace amidst her heartbreak; and Paul, who knew peace even when deserted and facing death. In each of these encounters the author leads us beyond the stories to broader principles which relate to life today.

We continue with a progression through the story of the coming of the Prince of Peace. This naturally reaches a climax with the study for Christmas Day. But the author notes the irony of the situation: the arrival of a baby is universally welcomed, yet its midnight crying and incessant demands for attention destroy a family's peace. And we are brought firmly down to earth with the reading for Boxing Day, where we hear Simeon telling Mary that her new-born son will be the cause of a 'sword piercing her heart. Peace has to be sought even in pain.

The book concludes with a series of suggestions as to how Christians may bring peace in practical ways, including relationships, justice, politics and the care of creation: all very suitable for New Year's resolutions!

This excellent and realistic book takes its readers on an unusual Advent journey which offers no trite answers. Its author draws on his vast mission experience and knowledge to both challenge and encourage us. I commend it.

Andrew Kleissner is the minister of Christchurch United Church, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff

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The Reader website. Review by Nick Mayhew-smith

An Advent-themed collection of Bible readings and contemplations, this book offers a Christian perspective on our heavily troubled world that takes the reader from 1 December to 6 January, inviting personal reflection on issues both big (war) and small (personal regrets). It encourages the reader towards a spiritual response rather than a practical set of suggestions: if we fall out with people we should pray for them and try to see the good in them, we should respond to an influx of refugees with 'compassion'. As such, a little more of the author's own hands-on experience as a missionary leader in some of the world's most troubled areas would have been good, although it becomes clear he has seen and practised faith at the sharp end. A publication of the Bible Reading Fellowship, this book is well-founded in scripture, although readers might find it a little inconvenient to have to stop and turn to their Bible to find the day's reading before going back to this commentary. But some extracts are printed in full, and opening the New Testament, both literally and metaphorically, is the key to understanding a thoughtful book such as this.

Review by NICK MAYHEW-SMITH

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The Church Times 28 10.18. Advent book round-up by Lavinia Byrne

The Baptist David Kerrigan's book, The Prince of Peace in a World of Wars, takes as its starting-point the need to understand peace. It moves on to seek out saints who have found peace; then the place of the Prince of Peace; and, finally, 11 days, leading up to the Epiphany, of hard-hitting reflections on creation, the poor, politics, justice, gender, race, and rank.

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Reform Advent book round-up November 2018

Celtic Advent, The Prince of Peace in a World of Wars (and third title by another publisher: Pathway to the Stable by Ivor Thomas Rees)

Wanting a new challenge for Advent? Then look no further. These ... books have a wealth of knowledge, sound biblical teaching, informative challenges to our thinking and reflecting, and relevance to our lives in this 21st-century world...

Celtic Advent offers us a 40-day trip, beginning on 15 November. It leads us through the story whilst sharing the beliefs and experiences of Celtic Christians, alongside scripture. Every day, there is an introductory comment, a contemplation on what has been introduced, a Bible reading and a prayer. The book is interesting, enlightening and accessible.

The Prince of Peace in a World of Wars offers us a different way to approach Advent. It begins on 1 December, ends on 6 January and is a book about peace. Each day includes a Bible text followed by comments from the author, who actively encourages us to reflect and build on what we have read and then to look outwards to the world. The book uses texts from both the Old and the New Testaments and takes us not only through the story of Jesus' birth but also before and beyond.

Reviews by Jenny Mills, minister of Newport Pagnell URC and West End United Church, Wolverton as well as Convenor of the URC children's and youth work committee.

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Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857465702
  • Published: 21 September 2018
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
Bible Reflections for Older People - September 2018
St Aidans Way of Mission