Bible Reading: Colossians 3:13-15
I am leaving you with a gift-peace. John 14:27
YOU’RE ABOUT TO travel back in time to visit some war protesters of the ancient past. Fasten your seatbelts!
DATELINE: 1970 (A group of teenagers is milling around a Volkswagen van. One of them is talking.)
“It was far out, man! Me and my old lady hitched a ride down to Berkeley for this really happenin’ sit-in to protest the war, you know?
“When we got there, the place was jumpin’, man. Everybody was groovin’ to the music and just peacin’ out! We were, like, all together as one, you know what I mean? We were there to protest the war against our brothers and sisters in ‘Nam, you know? We sang ‘Give Peace a Chance.’ We were just trying to say the world needs to make love, not war, man. Peace is where it’s at, man.
“Of course, then I saw a cop watching us, and I said, ‘Hey, Pig, what are you lookin’ at?’ I picked up a brick off the sidewalk and threw it at him, and he went down! It was far out! Some brothers around me started clappin’, and I stood up and said, ‘Down with the Establishment! Peace out, man!’ Groovy, huh?”
BACK TO THE PRESENT: Everybody-past or present-agrees that peace is worthwhile, but most of us have trouble truly living in peace with others-little brothers, big sisters, parents, neighbors, classmates, not to mention the annoying little kid who lives down the block.
That’s because true peace-like all good things-comes only from God, through his Holy Spirit. No matter how much you want to live in peace, no matter how sincerely you believe in “world peace,” no matter how hard you try, you can’t achieve true and lasting peace without God.
But if Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, lives in you, then his peace can rule in your heart. As you surrender to him and trust him day by day, he will overcome the part of you that always insists on having your own way, the part that has trouble getting along with others or that wants to fight with others instead of trying to understand them. It doesn’t happen all at once, but as the Holy Spirit controls more and more of you, you’ll know more and more of his peace.
The civil rights anthem “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me” had it right. Peace begins with you-your heart surrendered to God and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Otherwise, peace doesn’t have a chance.
REFLECT: Are you struggling to live in peace with anyone right now? How can you try to promote peace in your family this week? among your friends? at church?
PRAY: “God, I really want to know you so I can know peace.”