The peace that God can give is beyond all imagining. It possesses heart, body, mind and soul and is based on the firm conviction that God will bring all things together for the good – that ‘all will be well’. This outcome is of course posited on eternal life. This means that peace is not dependent on what happens in the here and now – good or bad. It means that peace is for NOW. It means that we can really give ourselves in love to others, knowing that to love is to make oneself vulnerable and open to hurt. No humanist creed can even begin to come close.
If the proof of a good sermon
Is the reaction it gets, then
I once surely hit the jackpot.
I had just preached on ‘peace’
And a parishioner accosted me:
“With respect – that’s a lot of rot!”
She was somewhat angry with me!
I had spoken about how God’s gift
Of peace was there for the taking.
Her son was in the British army,
And was being posted to Ulster:
In those days, a deadly undertaking.
“How can you tell me about peace;
How can you pretend it’s there for me,
When I’m worried sick about my son?
I’m scared to the depths of my soul;
He’s going to be surrounded by men
Who speak only with the bomb and gun.”
I was fairly strong on theory, but
Although I stood by what I said,
The poor woman surely had a case.
I took her comments seriously,
And we agreed to meet in prayer:
To wait on God for guiding grace.
If peace has any merit at all,
Then it’s meant for such as us;
For the ups and downs of daily life.
In this regard ‘peace’ can never
Equate to freedom from hassle,
Hurt, failure, trouble and strife.
Peace is not some trance-like state;
A sort of ‘mystical numbness’,
Where we are insulated from woe.
To obey God’s command to love,
Is to make one self vulnerable;
And take all that life can throw.
God Himself never guaranteed
A ‘bed of roses’ – rather we’re called
To take up our cross instead.
Could Jesus have known peace
As he agonised in the garden,
Knowing the awful fate ahead?
Peace is a state of deep calm,
An all pervading surety of heart,
Based, not on a life that’s just swell,
But on the profound certainty,
That God is bringing all together,
And will ensure that ‘all will be well’.
We are rooted in the here and now;
Rightly so – but God has made us
For immortality. The longer view:
Death – our nemesis – is, through Jesus,
The doorway to a more perfect joy,
That realm where we are born anew.
We have to align to His plan,
Totally rational and consistent,
To see that nothing whatsoever,
Can wrench us from His abiding love;
That nothing in this life we live,
Could cause His hold on us to sever.
And God’s word to that good mother?
No crass promise that no harm befall,
But firm assurance that all will be well.
Held by a love far stronger than her own:
No matter how dark or terrifying,
Divine light at the end of the tunnel.
“My love would be a sham to deny it:
I may have suffering ahead to face,
And yet I feel some peace descend…
I will trust God’s sacred promise:
‘Every hair on his head is counted’.
I know all will be well in the end.”