From Where I Sit…
There is no peace for any of us, when there is no peace throughout this planet. From every angered and twisted act of defiance, war, terrorism and crime, the world is forever in the throes of one person attempting to get the edge over another person.
I was thinking about the timeless memorial of Abraham Lincoln in DC, where in sheltered serenity he sits and watches over the Mall toward the Washington memorial. From point to point we find the various memorials representing the history of our country, namely from war to war. Vietnam. Korea. WWII. WWI. On and on we memorialize our fight over tyranny and the safety of our planet. Some good battles, some not, but in all many lost their lives preserving the way of our country.
This picture reminds me that President Lincoln could only look ahead to the decades since his death and wish for that nurtured climate that brings the proffered peace to every person regardless of race.
In this mornings report of news around the world we can find a simple repeat of yesterday’s news where one terrorist group is claiming responsibility for attacking innocents…more politics of outlandish and career politicians pushing to be the next person in charge…more financial upheaval…just more pain and suffering every where you look. Innocents lost to the hands of monsters, and the military and political fight to minimize the effort dominates the reporting.
Then we deal with those things in our own private world. Neighbors. Traffic. Family. Career. Finances. Health.
Then we find, in the middle of all this, the ridiculous news that touts the best chili, best places to retire, worst places to vacation, or next healing medical procedure, or some weird technology advancement.
Can we ever have peace? Will it ever settle down? Will life ever be simply normal?
Probably not, and most likely not even in my lifetime. Over the past few weeks I have devoured some books that deal with life after civilization breaks down and the survival of species is doubtful. Why are we so obsessed with the ending of it all? Zombies. Aliens. Apocalypse. Tragedies enjoyed to assure we can make it through the dark hour that we all know is ahead? Maybe.
Somewhere in the midst of the mundane and terrible, I must find my place in this maddening world. I need to put all the dilemma’s of life in proper perspective. Wrap up the loose ends and stuff them behind something. And be about the business I was called to do.
From old to new, the bible is in a quest to find peace. Sacrificial offerings were made in the Old Testament to assure peace for a time. Repeatedly. It seemed there never was any peace. The New Testament changed from the offerings to greetings of peace. With phrases like: Grace unto you, and peace… Other words are often added: Mercy, Love. Many times this was the opening and closing of many writings.
The one that speaks to me this morning is from Paul to the church in Thessalonica.
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens. (2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 KJV)
Notice the “Lord of Peace” phrase, which is obviously a “token” of every letter Paul writes. This is the promise continued from Jesus himself. Paul was more than likely not around Jesus when he whispered these words over his disciples. They were beginning to learn about the trials of his ministry and what would probably happen to him as he approached the ending of his earthly ministry. There was fear in their hearts over the future. For Jesus, and for themselves. But Jesus breathes fresh hope into their lives as he utters.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27 KJV)
This spoken just after the promise of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which will give them what they need in the days ahead. The OT looked for peace at every corner. Jesus, in his short ministry left peace for his followers. But, in every moment, we can have the very heart of peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, from within. Carried daily. Everywhere we go. In every trial and trouble, that Peace is with us.
Prayer: Lord, give us peace today so that we can work while we yet have day and strength to do your bidding.