Grant Younger of Columbia, MO, USA
…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. -Colossians 3:12b-15 NRSV
I had always thought of peace as cessation of hostilities. When a war is over and peace is declared, hostilities cease. Still, the cessation of hostilities seems like a very temporary state for which to strive so hard. When has a cessation of hostilities ever lasted?
I decided to find out what peace means in a biblical context. I found this definition: “wholeness or well-being especially through restoring relationships” (The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible [Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press], 2006). Wait. This is not focused on the cessation of hostilities. This definition does not even require the presence of hostility! A breach in relationships is the invitation to peacemaking.
This gives a whole new meaning to peace. Working towards cessation of hostilities seems futile in most situations. Over time those hostilities will come right back. Working for restoration of relationships has a more permanent feel.
All the traits listed in these verses are needed for the work of relationship restoration-for peacemaking. The peace of the Bible is what Community of Christ works for. I can dedicate myself to this pursuit of peace. This is doable and can be accomplished.
I now realize that my job is not to stop hostile parties from fighting but to turn those parties to friends. This is a much more challenging but more rewarding responsibility. The church needs to rebuild relationships so we can truly be a church of Christ’s peace.
Lord, help us remember what peace really is. When we say, “Let there be peace on earth,” remind us that we must fight for everyone to have the opportunity for good relationships.
In God, I live and move and have my being.
Breathing in the Spaces
When you move into different spaces throughout your day, consciously place yourself in the new setting with a desire to be alert to God’s presence. Over time, simply taking a deliberate breath will remind you that you are in God’s presence and that you want to be alert to God’s purposes in that setting. When entering the different spaces in your day (workplace, a colleague’s office, a restaurant or place of business, school or places where people meet) pause and take a deliberate breath. When returning home, pause to take a breath. As you take a deep breath, breathe in the goodness of the profound presence and purposes of God in each place you find yourself. Allow yourself to be drawn to people who may be blessed in simple ways by you being aware of them as persons of worth. -adapted from missionalleaders.org
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.