Peace in the midst of violence
Vs. 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
One of the reasons why during our Holy Communion service the priest says “Peace be with you all.” is because peace is one of the most sought after things in the world. As individuals and as communities we have so much material wealth but we lack peace. The salvation that Jesus Christ offers includes peace (John 14:27 – Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.) This is the peace that enabled David to write in Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.
The Jewish word for peace is Shalom. This “peace” applies to individuals and to communities. When people have 'Shalom' they are at peace with other individuals and as a community “there is a strong desire to cooperate with and to understand other nations. Shalom implies a striving for unity and harmony, in spite of major differences among peoples (The Language of Judaism by Simon Glustrom.)
The peace that only God provides surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7.) It enables us to be calm and peaceful even when we are facing trials and tribulations. Those who truly have God’s peace can turn the other cheek when struck. They will not retaliate or pray for their “enemies” to be punished. They can love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. God’s peace enables us to love just like Jesus loves because we have a trust in God that will not be shaken.
It also enables us to share with those around us. We no longer consider ourselves first, but we consider the needs of others before our own. Remember that many of Christ’s followers at that time were very poor and did not have much. To give a coat or cloak (especially if they only had one) meant providing for others even if the disciple would not have anything.
Those that truly trust in the Lord will receive the love and peace that only God can provide. They will forgive and love others because God loves and forgives them. They have God’s peace in the midst of violence because they are the children of God.
Lord, grant us Your peace and make us instruments of Your peace. Enable us to forgive, share, and love all those around us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God no matter what the conflict. - UnknownRev. Shibi Abraham, Youth Chaplain, North East Region