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It is quite obvious that the world is in dire need of peacemakers at this time, people who have the inner peace of God in their heart & whose peace informs their living, reflecting the character of God
As people created in the image of God, we are commissioned to live as peacemakers, reflecting & spreading the love, light & peace of God outward into the world. God’s peace is different than the earthly peace we so often seek. Earthly peace looks for a place where there is no noise or trouble or hard work, a place to escape to. A peaceful place such as a quiet lake or a walk in the woods, is not the same as living in God’s peace for it lasts only as long as we are in that quiet place. Since God lives in & is reflected in all of His creation, being in a peaceful quiet place in nature may bring a person into closer communion with God. However, the peaceful place is not the same as God’s peace itself. God’s peace means that amidst of those things: noise, trouble, hard work, violent conflict, illness, even the threat of the COVID virus, one can still be calm in their heart. That does not mean that living informed by God’s enduring peace will spare us fear, depression, & anxiety, but it does mean that it will keep us from being taken over by the conflictual threatening situations we encounter. God’s peace is a deep inner healing peace of the heart. It is a peace based on faith in the steadfast comforting love of God our Creator. It is a condition of the heart brought about by a serenity of the soul, a peace that is rooted in the belief & trust that God alone is our refuge & our fortress, loves all His children unconditionally, & the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of God. When we develop a lifestyle truly embracing the reality that God alone is our refuge, we will begin to live informed by the peace of God and fear, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, though present from time to time, will become manageable & quickly melt away.
We read in the Bible that as Jesus was preparing to leave this world he said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, & do not let them be afraid.” God’s peace is given to us so that we might go into the world & be peacemakers, spreading God’s love & grace to the world. (John 14: 27) Earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus proclaimed that the people who are peacemakers would be richly blessed by God & would be called children of God.
The first step of living into our calling from God to be a peacemaker is to embrace & to live with God’s peace in our own heart. You cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. It is quite obvious that the world is in dire need of peacemakers at this time, people who have the inner peace of God in their heart & whose peace informs their living, reflecting the character of God. Though we are all God’s children, the children of God who embrace God’s peace in their heart are blessed & empowered by the Holy Spirit to heal the brokenness caused by conflict. As makers of peace through their living they promote harmony & unity, not division, among God’s people by not contributing to aggression. They de-escalate violence & hatred by being a peaceful presence in the world. They exhibit love, respect, patience, civility, & wellness. When our living is directed by the Holy Spirit, in spite of the conflict that surrounds us, we will reflect hope instead of despair, light instead of darkness, love instead of hatred, justice instead of injustice, joy instead of sadness, equality instead of division. Living reflecting the light, hope, & peace of God can change & heal the world.
It is not easy to be a peacemaker. We are human & thus are affected by the violence & threats. Our challenge is to keep our focus on God where all healing & hope lies & to reflect His peace. Therefore, all are encouraged as we go forward through these tumultuous days, to heed the words from the book of Philippians, to focus on: “Whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence & if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, for the Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving, make your request be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus.” AMEN
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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