Peace on Earth?

Life Notes—December 2, 2010

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”  Luke 2:13-14 

One of the traditional images of Christmas is that of Peace.  We sing, “Sleep in heavenly peace.”  Banners read, “Peace on Earth!”  In Isaiah 9:6 the coming Jesus is named the Prince of Peace.  Christians have been celebrating this Prince of Peace for two thousand years; so, where’s the peace?  The Korean peninsula is on the verge of war (again).  Across the globe there are civil wars, genocide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing.  In our cities, assaults and murders are too common.  The Middle East, the birthplace of at least three of the world’s major religions, is a perennial hotbed of violence and war.  Physical violence and peace cannot coexist.  Ditto for peace and emotional violence or abuse.  So I ask again, where is this peace we celebrate at Christmas? 

If peace is the absence of violence, peace on earth may not be possible.  Everything in our world is temporal and constantly changing.  Nothing of the earth was created to last.  Everything forms, exists for a time and then changes to something else.  Our souls clothe themselves in materials of the earth at birth and leave them behind at death.  Violence is largely, if not entirely, a manifestation of want—want of property, want of power, want of attention, want of security.  Indeed, violence is often an outgrowth of insecurity; and insecurity runs wild in unstable environments, like earth.  In contrast, the peace of Christ is an internal peace: stability and certainty in an unstable and uncertain world.  When we find the peace of Christ, the peace that passes all understanding, we take that peace wherever we go, into whatever circumstance we find ourselves.  From that holy center within—where Creator and creation meet—peace radiates outward, helping bring a measure of peace to our surroundings.  Like a candle in the darkness.  And others are drawn to it. 

Peace on earth begins within each of us.  Internal peace is bestowed through the favor of God.  The favor of God is attained by developing a relationship with God.  Although that relationship is up to each individual to cultivate, a good church can help. 

Would a peaceful song help you find inner peace this Christmas?  Let me send you one as a gift.  Email me at ghildenbrand@sunflower.com, and I’ll give you “Peace.” 

Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent and the theme is Peace.  Tom will be preaching downtown. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall; traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Mitch will preach at the west campus, where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.  The sermon title at both campuses is “Finding the Light,” based on Luke 2:8-15. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Many centers, One peace…

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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