Wednesday, March 25, 2015
May peace burn our insecurities away.
Peace is difficult to comprehend especially when one comes across Jesus’ exhortation that “I have not come to make peace in this world.” What is peace and should we undertake an effort to understand and establish peace during lent?
Peace can be seen from the context of being peace that is available from God in times which are confusing and lost. “May the peace of God that exceeds all understanding be with you.” Peace need not make sense but peace also gives sense and direction during very confusing and difficult times. The loss of a dear one and the confusion and blankness it brings about cannot be settled with anything else but the soothing peace from God. This is a peace which is offered as a prayer to us in times of need.
Peace can also be seen from the context of what we offer to others as a negotiated and thought out offer and even a less thought out but never the less sincere offer. This is peace that seeks to do away with conflict and bring about an honoured, respectful and mutually enriching atmosphere of trying to live with each other. In the first case we receive unceasingly and in the second case we ask for continuously. Peace is an uninterrupted time of calm. But many a time it is a calm before a storm. It can also be that peace is what we see on the outside while the inside is brimming with unrest. What then can lent be in terms of peace? Is it a time where we try to be at peace with ourselves and others? Is it also a time where we are holding our emotions through lent or stoking our inner hurts so that we burn them out forever?
A woman or man of God can and should be peaceful. Proverbs 16:7 says “When a man’s (sic) ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Peace and trust in God go along side each other. One cannot do away with peace and maintain one is close to God because we are missing an integral part of God in our lives. It is not to remain quiet and bring about peace but to exorcise our inner demons and disturbing thoughts and bring about peace in the process. Peace is not at hand without suffering and Jesus reminds us of that. In St. John 16:33 he says ““These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Peace then becomes more than what we experience in this world. Maybe we won’t experience complete peace in this world. But the peace of God allows us to see a pattern to the suffering we face and to come out of it and have an inner peace initiated by God.
Peace then becomes not what is imposed on us. Lent should rather be a time to trust in the immense power of God to bring peace in us. It is an extended invitation to be at peace with ourselves and our contexts by being at peace with God. Philippians 4: 6-7 says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This is not what we can make sense of but what may pass all our understanding and yet bring understanding in our lives.
This lent we can try for such peace where we are brought into understanding our lives in terms of what God is doing for us. Peace is out of this world because it is difficult to accomplish but in our effort to do that peace becomes this worldly rather than other worldly. We can’t work on the short comings of others but we can burn our own insecurities and negative feelings and bring about a peaceful stillness after that. Lent offers us an opportunity to try for a peaceful existence by being at peace with ourselves primarily and calling upon God so that others be at peace with us. Amen.
Picture courtesy www.delta.edu