Yesterday I had more opportunity to reflect on “peace” within the context of the Christian story. Where I kept getting pushed was how “Being children of God,” as peacemakers, reflects the breadth of God’s redeeming love.
In short, peacemaking as Christians is our turning toward one another, and the larger world, with what we have received from God.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” More directly to the point, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The hope that Christians celebrated on advent week 1, is actually the product of the peace that we celebrated in week 2. It is the reconciling, redeeming, justifying work of God that gives us peace with Him.
Why is it that being “children of God” is tied to being a “peacemaker”? Because to be a child of someone is to bear that person’s image and likeness. God’s children are peacemakers because God is the Peacemaker.
God has given us life and peace with himself in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
So, being agents of peace in the world is a matter of living out in our own lives and in our communities the story of Christ crucified. We embody the peace-making mission of God.
But this peace is made in the cross.
This tells us that the means by which we will make peace will never be the sword.
It also means that we are going to have to step back and reconsider what “peace” means as we search for it in our lives. It will be a peace that is present in the midst of suffering and trial–not necessarily one that delivers us from it here and now.
Yesterday’s service included some reflections on Phil 4: “…make your requests known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.” Paul shortly goes into his means of peace and contentment: being able to get by in plenty and want, in any and every circumstance: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Peace is about living out of, and living into, the reality of the gospel of Christ crucified. It is a self-giving so that others my live. It is a trust in the provision of God, even as we walk the way of the Christ. It is an extension of the peace-making presence of God through the church which is the continuation of Christ’s presence here on earth.