“27Peace 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.”
Peace. A commonly used word. A word that we all are familiar with. A word that may suggest a picture of tranquility or cessation of hostilities. Peace, a word that we all know. This second week of Advent we light the candle of Peace.
What does it mean? Jesus is often called the Prince of Peace. But what does that mean? In the Merriam – Webster dictionary peace is defined as:
‘1. a state of tranquility or quiet such as freedom from civil disturbance or a state of
security or order within a community, or 2. freedom from disquieting or oppressive
thoughts or emotions, or 3. harmony in personal relations and on it goes.
But what is peace really? In the verse from John, Jesus tells us He is leaving His peace with us. And He points us toward the definition of peace: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” So, it seems that we could take His peace to be what Merriam – Webster describes as ‘freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions’.
That is not easy to accomplish!
One way we can look for this peace is to look at examples of it in action. And right in the Christmas story we can start with the very beginning. In Luke 1:26 – 38 we have the story of Mary. A teenage girl, who is promised to be married. A simple girl, who is not special in any way other than God’s plans for her. She was just an ordinary girl, yet she would become the mother of Jesus. As the story unfolds her “peace” becomes very unsettled. In her society what the angel is proposing means disgrace for her and her family, she will become an outcast. Yet, she says, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Even in this most frightening moment, she agrees to follow God’s plan for her life. She was just an ordinary girl; how could she be so sure of God’s peace.
On November 18th of 2020 during a general audience, Pope Francis said this:
"Mary was praying when the Archangel Gabriel came to bring his message to her in Nazareth.
Her small yet immense “Here I am”, which made all of creation jump for joy in that moment,
had been preceded throughout salvation history by many other “Here I ams”, by many trusting
obediences, by many who were open to God’s will. There is no better way to pray than to place
oneself like Mary in an attitude of openness, with a heart open to God: “Lord, what you want,
when you want, and how you want.” That is, a heart open to God’s will. And God always
Mary’s faith was already strong. And as the Pope points out she had a long line of stories of “here I ams” to fall back on. We too have those stories. And not just from the Bible. Throughout Christian history there have been so many ordinary people who have set aside the “disquiet” and “oppressive thoughts” that are bound up in emotion and have trusted in God’s faithfulness.
Just as God promised so long ago to the prophets and the children of Israel, we have been redeemed through the power of the cross and the empty grave. As we march into this season of joyful expectation, we know the end of the story. We have been given the gift of the Spirit who brings with Him a peace that is beyond understanding. When we stand in trust of our God, when we bow our heads and meet with our Lord, faith floods through us leaving behind sweet peace.
“33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This season accept the sweet peace of Jesus Christ and let it flow through you as a light to the world.
We're Park Hill Christian Church in KC MO. We seek to follow Jesus by praising God, loving those we meet and serving the vulnerable.
6601 Northwest 72nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64151 | 816-741-1851