Monday, July 19, 2010
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. ~ Unknown
I've had peace on my mind today. Several things got me thinking about peace and what it means.
It all started at church yesterday when we read Luke 1:79, which is the end of Zechariah's song about his newborn son, John (the Baptist). Zechariah is talking about how John will prepare the way of the Messiah to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
When I heard that word peace, I thought of how little we hear about it in church or in our everyday lives. It seems the word was co-opted by the hippie generation to mean anti-war. Just a look at a couple of quotes and sayings on peace will show you the emphasis the word often has in our world today:
If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots. ~Napoleon Bonaparte
Lord, bid war's trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
But peace is really more than that. The dictionary defines peace as: 1. freedom from war, 2. an agreement to end war, 3. law and order, 4. harmony; concord, 5. serenity, calm, or quiet.
Another reason peace has been on my mind is the drama that played out in the lives of others this past week. One friend had to deal with the crises of both daughters plus a car that left her stranded out of town, which cost over $500 to repair. Did she have any way to make those things not happen? No. But what she did have control over was her own reaction to them. She chose to let her daughters suffer the consequences of their own actions and she rented a car to get herself home while her car was worked on. That was the solution that worked for her and it helped her go on with her life in a state of peace.
The world is a crazy place. There is so much that goes on that is out of our control. The only thing we can do is, as my brother said this week, not to let the drama dominate our lives. To take control. The only choice we have is to have peace (definition #5) in our hearts in the midst of the storm. It's not always easy to do that. Sometimes we fail miserably and have breakdowns, crying jags, and fits that would make a 2-year-old proud, but then we have to get up, dust ourselves off, and try again.
I hope you have a peaceful week.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
~Seymour Miller & Jill Jackson, "Let There Be Peace on Earth," 1955
For more on peace and what the Bible says about it, go to this link: http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/transcript/violence1.htm