DECEMBER 13: Peaces fixes something.
“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.”
When we pray for peace, it’s often in the wake of yet another war or another act of bigotry. When a valedictorian pontificates about a vision of global peace, she might suggest ending hate speech, political divisions or nationalism.
Maybe you sense it, but of all the promises of Christmas (among them love, joy and hope), peace is the promise to fix a problem. More specifically, real peace—the kind we all want most—must fix a problem between people.
Love tells us what we’re worth.
Joy tells us we’re not alone.
Hope tells us there’s a reason to keep going.
But peace is status achieved when ownership has been taken, when forgiveness has been offered and received, when damages have been recompensed, when wrongs between people (or communities of people) have been righted.
When we see people restricted, oppressed, victimized, we cry “Peace!”.
When we see people groups firing away at each other, we scream, “Peace!”.
When we see people being silenced so others can be loud, we wail, “Peace!”.
This is why we must want more than the substitutes for peace we settle for.
We can’t settle for the peace we get when we “cancel” someone.
We can’t settle for the peace we get when we avoid criticism.
We can’t settle for the peace we get by preaching to our choirs and barking in our echo chambers and staying on our side of the aisle.
True peace never ignores any interpersonal problem. It’s achieved by running toward what keeps to people apart, uncovering why there’s a gap and working hard to solve it, bridge it, repair it.
If Jesus was born to bring the highest degree of peace, he wasn’t born to sequester us away from each other or God when we are separated. Being separated is the problem that peace must fix. If he was born to make peace, he was born to be a head-on collision with anything that keeps persons apart.
Let’s follow him there.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“PeaceMaker, the peace you’re creating in my soul and in my world can’t happen if I avoid conflict. God, if you want to nudge me today, may I respond to you. If you bring to mind a division between me and a fellow human, may I follow you into the middle of it. Peace will take courage. I need it from you, God.”
*John’s biography of Jesus, chapter 14, verse 27