Finding Peace on Third Street.
This peace pole is part of a display over a quarter million similar peace poles around the world that recognizes our shared humanity and common desire for peace to prevail over all the earth. This pole in particular is an older pole that calls for the desire of peace in our homes and communities in eight different languages.
What I find interesting about peace is that like this pole, peace is always there in our community, stalwartly waiting to be noticed and embodied. But peace is often easily ignored or dismissed, just like this pole that has been around for more than a decade in downtown Geneva.
My message last Sunday was about peace drawing upon the Greek and Hebrew terms for peace that are much more than the absence of conflict. My favorite devotional book devotes the 8th day of the month to peace and I want to share the lesson with you as it has been so formative to me.
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. – Luke 1:78-79
[Christ] is our peace. – Ephesians 2:14
When the Scriptures speak of peace, they intend us to understand more than the absence of enmity or hostility. The Hebrew word translated “peace” is shalom. Shalom means wholeness, the perfecting of all that is broken or incomplete. It points to reconciliation and restitution. Peace in this sense is far more than the absence of conflict or confusion. Ultimately it is the restoration of God’s original intention in creation, the overcoming of sin and all resulting disruptions.
On this day it is well to ask:
- How strong is my sense of having been made whole by God?
- How can I spread God’s wholeness all around me?
- How can I help to communicate to others the wholeness God intends for all of us?
- How can I nurture within myself the conviction that in the end God will bring shalom to the whole created order, so that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”?
Most holy and undivided Trinity: within the complexity of your Being there is unity; yet from that unity flows forth diversity, and all taken together is wholeness. Share with us this mystery of your divine life, that we, despite our differences, may not be at odds, competing for power, struggling for prestige, but rather may be at peace, whole as you are whole, conscientious trustees of your reconciling love. Blessed are you in whose image we are made. Amen.
During this Advent season, I extend the invitation to wrestle with the four questions above and where an answer is not to your liking, invite Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to work in your life until you are confident of your response to these questions and your life becomes a stalwart witness to peace in your home and in our community.