Give Peace a Chance…

Written By: Chris Mace

Congregational Church, Machias, Maine

John Lennon’s lyrics of “All we are saying is give peace a chance” “are familiar to those who remember the antiwar songs of the sixty’s. It may seem cynical to say, but history has proven that world peace will always be an elusive, utopian ideal. There is no trust among those who seek power and control. The aggressive, competitive, greedy, selfish nature of mankind prohibits peace from being a reality. That is why our country needs a Department of Defense and why Jesus made several distinct predictions about the “end of the age” which included the truth that his followers would face troubles, that God’s redemptive plan would be theologically perverted, and that nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:5-7)

However, our destiny need not be anxiety, restlessness, disagreements, and dissatisfaction! Despite his ominous predictions, Jesus gave his followers tremendous encouragement. He assured them that his Spirit would always be with them and that his words and promises were true and would bring them reassurance and peace. “ I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

It seems a bit curious to claim victory over the world that beat and killed him? However, even though the world crucified him, Jesus moved heaven’s authority and power to combat evil’s influence on the human soul. By accepting the consequences of our transgressions at the cross, he made redemption possible and completely erased condemnation for those who choose to believe. In resurrection power he took away death’s sting. Peace and life with God became possible through faith.

One of the oldest Bible books states a life principle: “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.” (Job 22:21-22) The Old Testament prophet Isaiah put it this way when speaking of God: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 (NLT2) He subsequently deepened that thought: “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; .” ( Isaiah 48:17-22)

Both Old and New Testaments teach us that peace and righteousness are found when we agree with God, trust God, honor God, and follow God’s life principles. That would seem to be a very good definition of faith. The Apostle Paul assured the Roman church: Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us… (We are forgiven, made righteous, free from condemnation and fear of death, and are restored, children of God)… and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (parentheses mine) (Romans 5:1-2 (NLT2)

A prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi expresses this humility of mind and heart: “Lord, make us instruments of your peace/Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon/ where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith/where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light/where there is sadness, joy/ Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love/ For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Those principles were taught and modeled by Christ and were encouragements which the Apostle Paul gave to the Colossians : “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)

If those prayers became a universal mind set, there would be hope for peace.

Give peace a chance!


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