Sunday, September 21, 2014

"All we are saying..."

In the vast majority of USAmerican churches, the fact that today is the International Day of Peace will go unnoticed. In this crazy world we live in, somehow the concept of working for peace has become a "secular" movement in which the church has abandoned it's historical role of leadership. Never mind that the whole concept of "secular" is not biblical- "all good things come from God." I worked in churches for many years, and generally speaking we are quick to find reasons to celebrate special days. Many churches have Memorial Day services, Labor Day services. Veteran's Day services, Valentine's Day and any other "day" they can find- but have no special events planned for today. Peace is not a popular issue in the 21st century western church, because it is not a popular issue with modern Christians. And it is my personal belief that when we abandon working and praying for peace, we in some way abandon Jesus. Why would I say such a thing? It' simple, really...

There used to be a popular bumper sticker that said, "Jesus said, I believe it and that settles it!"  The life and teachings of Jesus should be EVERYTHING to Christians- but we often tend to ignore the really hard teachings or the things that seem out of step with the world we live in. What did the Christ have to say on the topic of peace? In addition to the Matthew verse you see above, he said things like...

  • Love your enemies
  • Pray for those who persecute you
  • Turn the other cheek
  • Walk the extra mile
  • Peace I leave with you my friends
We live in a world in which peace is not easy. There are threats all around us, and it is now ingrained in us to respond to violence with violence. We neither seek nor find our safety and peace in the arms of our God; we seek those things by building bigger bombs and making bigger threats. We do not seek restoration in broken relationships as often as we slam those we disagree with on social media. We do not search for healing in our families as often as we just walk away from troubles. Domestic violence is currently a hot topic- it is also, at it's core, an issue of peace! Feeding the hungry. clothing he naked, taking care of the sick & providing shelter for the homeless are issues of peace. Peace doesn't just HAPPEN. It must be something we are forever working towards, in our lives and in our world. And if we really want to be followers of Jesus, Christians need to take the lead in a Christ-centered peace movement that will change our culture. There need to be sermons preached on days like this honoring those who sacrifice for peace the same way we honor those who sacrifice in war. We are called upon to lovers of this world. Love and violence are not good partners.

Working for peace, praying for peace and seeking peaceful solutions for problems large and small may not be popular (and certainly not easy) in the modern church. But we are called to be peacemakers by the Prince of Peace himself. That's good enough for me. I guess really all I am saying is... give peace a chance. Hmm...I think I've heard that somewhere before...

Because of Jesus,

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