Peace and Chaos

Life Notes—August 12, 2010

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division!”  Luke 12:51 

One of my greatest pleasures is a peaceful evening at home.  Sitting on the deck with a cool breeze passing by.  Watching a brilliant sunset.  Listening to the serenade of cicadas and bullfrogs.  My children home, enjoying family fellowship.  My wife nearby, quietly attending to one of her interests.  The lawn, mowed.  The house, clean.  All is right with the world.  Ahhhh!  A moment straight from heaven… 

Or is it?  Is everything ever right with the world?  Every second people die needlessly and senselessly—many starve, some are victims of various types of violence, some are ravaged by illness.  At any given moment in our lives we are probably less than a few hundred yards from tremendous suffering—loneliness, sickness, mental illness, broken hearts, broken homes, addictions, homelessness, hunger. Does Jesus intend to bring us peace, as in my peaceful evening at home, or endless guilt over the unfortunate plight of those around us?  In the passage above he clearly intends to rouse us into action.  Jesus is a divisive force.  He does not apologize for making us squirm uncomfortably in our seats.  I believe we are called to accept responsibility for the condition of those around us, whether in our family, in our church, in our community or in our world. 

And that is why mission work is so critical to a church following the lead of Jesus.  Each year a significant portion of our financial offerings supports mission work around the world through the United Methodist Council on Relief (UMCOR).  And there are usually several mission groups from our church going out to help those in need.  Our youth spent a week in South Dakota working on the Lakota reservation.  They also spent a week helping out in areas of need right here in Lawrence.  There was also a group that worked for a week in Honduras.  Although most of us were not a direct part of these mission efforts, we were present with them through our financial and prayer support. 

So what of my peaceful evening?  Jesus also tells us, elsewhere, “My peace I give to you” and “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  I think we are called to find a balance between work and renewal.  It is the wearying work that makes the sunset on the porch that much more beautiful and rejuvenating. 

Our Honduras mission team will be leading worship at our contemporary services, 9:30 and 10:45, sharing their mission experiences.   Mitch’s sermon at the traditional services downtown is entitled “(Almost) Nothing Lasts Forever,” based on Matthew 24:3-14.  Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.  

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Strugglers welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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