“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 be afraid.” – John 14:27
REVOLUTIONARY PEACE: Traditionally, the focus of this second week in Advent is the peace that entered the world with the coming of Jesus. Or, more properly, the potential for peace; a quality of peace that is unlike anything the world had understood up to that point in history.
Unfortunately, the world still fails to understand the Jesus kind of peace – many Christians fail to understand the Jesus kind of peace: the “peace that passes understanding,” the peace that is, “not as the world gives.”
So today’s Advent at the Improv image is a “Peace Crane,” from the Christmas Tree in our dining room. I’m sure we all know the story behind the origami cranes made by Sadako Sasaki, a child who contracted Leukemia after initially surviving the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. She made 1,000 while she was dying, in response to a legend that “anyone who folds a thousand cranes is granted a wish.”
Rather than for herself, though, her prayer was this: “I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.”
THE BUCK STOPS HERE: It’s common to point out that the Jesus kind of peace is personal, and that the peace of God can be ours no matter what is going on around us.
Of course, that is all beautifully true. But peace is not exclusively passive. Peace is something that we are called to do; peace is a commitment we are called to live.
I can’t help but think of the peace imperative when I consider how far from Christ’s path we all stray on a daily basis.
Today I’m going to resist the temptation to talk about our larger shameful domestic social issues such as state-sanctioned torture, institutionalized racism, and the systematic repression of human rights. I’m skipping comment today because such conversations tend to point the finger away from me and toward “them.”
But today’s Peace Crane landed on my tree.
But today’s Peace Crane landed on my tree. So I’m wondering what I’m going to be doing with the Jesus Peace Initiative. How am I going to “do” peace? What is Jesus calling me to do to deepen the quality of peace Rebekah experiences? How is God nudging me to bring peace to my faith community? How is the Holy Spirit activating my compassion in order to reach even beyond the good people of WFPC?
Here is a quick and easy way to think about peace as deliberate action: P.E.A.C.E.
- Pour out love
- Express the compassion of Jesus
- Act out the teachings of our Lord
- Carry the presence of Christ in every action
- Establish relationships with those who do not know peace
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
Peace, Hope, Love, and Joy – DEREK
PS – Listen to Rebekah’s excellent sermon on peace from this past Sunday – “Advent Peace“