March 5, 2015 By: Drew Martin
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“May I PLEASE get a little peace and quiet around here?!?” I grew up thinking that “peace” was something to do with leaving my big sister alone or just being quiet in general.
This certainly made sense. The news reports continually blared about unrest in the Middle East and conflicts around the world, while our government leaders talked of military action and the ultimate goal of bringing peace to far off lands. And when winter brought snow, everyone would talk of how peaceful it was. I quickly associated our Christmas message of “Let there be peace on Earth” with this powdery, winter-white stillness.
Peace: the opposite of war. Peace: the stillness of a city blanketed in snow. Peace: the act of leaving each other alone. Peace: just being quiet.
During Lent, peace is a central theme. After all, Christians quietly turn inward over these 40 days to reflect upon who we are and what our faith means to us in our daily lives. We recall and repent for the sins we have committed. We ask God for forgiveness and mercy. All of this requires a great deal of internal stillness and quiet.
But we also seek something additional; we boldly ask for God’s Peace.
What we witness in our readings and lessons during Lent is quite the opposite of stillness and quiet. We read of temptation in the wilderness, celebration on Palm Sunday, imprisonment by the governing authorities, torture by guards and soldiers, crucifixion and death. Yet, it is through all this chaos that God’s Peace is delivered to the faithful of the world.
No, God’s Peace is not the stillness and ultimate quiet of death, and it certainly is not people leaving each other alone. God’s Peace is the confidence that the story doesn’t end in death but in resurrection,ascension and everlasting life. It is the reassurance that by actively serving each other, we are serving the Lord. It is the guarantee of everlasting life.
May the Peace of the Lord be always with you.
God, bestow upon me peaceful stillness during these forty days that I may adequately repent for my sins and seek your mercy, and grant me, oh Lord, the ultimate Peace that you offered the faithful by sacrificing yourself for our wickedness. Create in me a whole and pure heart that I may go forth into the world in Peace to worthily honor and magnify your holy name. Amen.