Ah, peace, that illusive dream of beauty contest participants, "My goal is world peace"; of parents preparing dinner after a hectic day, "Is it too much to ask for a little peace and quiet around here?"; of anti-war protesters, "All I am saying, is give peace a chance"; of generals, "I pray for peace every day"; and of preachers, "May the peace of God, which passes all understanding"....
This is the "Second Week of Advent", and in most church calendars the emphasis is peace.
I found mine yesterday evening, at church, and I wasn't really looking for it. I always enjoy the Christmas fellowship dinner, but this time I didn't have that much of an appetite and my broken rib was really working hard on my last raw nerve. So I abandoned my plate, skipped the dessert table, and went on into the sanctuary early to tune my guitar.
My friend Tim was already there, and after we got ourselves vaguely tuned up I laid down a simple rock riff in E and it was game on. Tim hit his groove quickly and - instead of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or some other Christmassy melody, we rocked out for a few minutes while the room filled up.
Later, standing back behind the piano, playing guitar while a couple of hundred people sang Angels from the Realms of Glory at the tops of their voices, I took a freeze-frame picture in my mind's eye and I can see it clearly this morning.
- The enthusiastic section of Korean Presbyterians, worried about the possibility of war in their homeland, yet singing their hearts out, faces radiant with God's kind of Peace.
- The faces of people I love, too many to list, caught in the eddy of grace that swept through the church, illuminated by an inner light that - for those few minutes - put their lives back into the redemptive perspective of living faith.
- The smile that never left Tim's face as he let his guitar do his singing for him.
- The families, all sizes and all ages, standing together to give thanks for the gift of Jesus.
- The spirit of unity; so many unique people, with such a variety of background and opinion and politics and experience, standing in the common humility of grace, and love, and redemption.
So many aspects to peace.
Such a transformational gift from the Creator who did not place us here on this earth and in this time and place for nothing.. but for so much.
Such an opportunity to live.
Peace - and I really do mean that - DEREK
Peace 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 (John 14)