Most images of "peace" are a symbol, a dove, or a person alone. I get it...the most peaceful times come when we are alone. In my reading today, the Psalmist says that he takes his troubles to the Lord who answers his prayers. In Psalm 120:6-7 the song lyrics go like this:
6 I am tired of living
Now, to be clear, this is not a commentary on recent events or a way of passive-agressively reacting to something, I don't need to do that or behave in that way. I just have come to a place where Jesus' call for his disciples to be peacemakers is quickly becoming one of the most challenging teachings in all of Scripture for me, and I see myself prone to war...not peace. I see a lot of war on my Social Media feeds, mostly Facebook and Twitter are the ones I use, and I don't buy into the "medium is evil" rhetorics that exist...I wonder if these places have not made us more argumentative, but simply provided an outlet for us to argue what's really inside of us. I want to remind you what is said about humanity in Genesis 6, affirmed in Genesis 8 and played out throughout the text, history, and our contemporary culture...the hearts of humanbeings focus on evil, constantly, all of the time. That is the Bible's take on humanity...and some nights as I scroll down the feeds of Social Media (SM), that biblical reality is confirmed.
I think about Memorial Day, which was just observed. If you post something on SM you had better know what the day is all about...don't thank a living soldier, because that is to be done on Veterans' Day...but don't worry, if you get this wrong you will be corrected suddenly and unforgivingly by others who know better. We were reminded that Memorial day wasn't just a long weekend, and not nicely I may add. The video of the dog crying made several appearances on our feeds. OK - so some people have no idea, newsflash, it's not new...But my feeds were full of shaming, bullying, with an extra helping of guilt please. I reluctantly posted a picture of the cemetery our family visited waiting to be blasted by someone, but I guess I was ok or under the radar!
What about Christmas? How about the upcoming election? Sure, let's throw in Baltimore for good measure... What happened in that crash the other night where the teens died...or the school bus was hit? Did you see the cute video of the little girl singing? Is she a good singer? What about those Woman Power videos, or crazy stunts by the young and free daredevils?
I am a part of a Christian group that gets into the most hairsplitting attempts of human pride peered at through all angles to the point of exhaustion...and that's just the group for educated ministers and leaders.
I am surrounded by a culture that likes to fight, argue, and prove themselves right. That culture has knocked on the door of the church, and the church has welcomed it into their fellowship. I have participated in this - maybe you have too. But we need to stop the fight for a minute and hear the words of Jesus as he taught on the mountain...
Matt 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace,
As I said above, this is one of the most challenging teachings for me to follow. I have turned off most of the news outlets, tuned out of SM feeds, and even at times stepped out of religious discussions...I probably need to do more. Jesus never asked us to be connoisseurs of current events, or to be caretakers of the latest societal arguments. "Come, let us reason together" is a call not for heated debate, but for conversation in community. The teaching to "be ready to give an account" is a call for testimony (what God is doing in my life) not apologetics (defense of a theological position). And in the center of it all is peacemaking...How will I add to the peace of my friends, family, and community this week? World Peace is a dream, and a good one, but it starts in MY heart, flows to my feeds, conversations, and interactions...and grows from there.
There is so much more to be said, but I leave it open to you...how do/will you make peace? Maybe share a few ideas below...
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.