Called to Peace
February 18, 2003
We live in a world of war. Our nation is at war with terrorism and in all likelihood will soon be at war with Iraq. But this is nothing new. Historians tell us that within the last 300 years there have been 286 wars in Europe alone. From 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1860 more than 8,000 treaties of peace were signed by various nations. Each was intended to last forever. But the average treaty survived but a little over two years.
The dictionary defines peace as "freedom from or stopping of war; freedom from public disturbance or disorder; freedom from disagreement or quarrels, harmony, concord; an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict; calm, quiet, tranquility." One cynic suggested that a better definition of peace might be ‘that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around --reloading."
Of course, the opposite of peace is not just military conflict between nations. Peace and conflict begin closer to home. Charlie Brown's sidekick Linus and his big sister Lucy were once in the midst of a heated argument. You may remember that it was Linus who said that big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life. Charlie Brown intercedes. "Why can't we just get along," he pleads. "Brothers and sisters ought to get along. Brothers and sisters ought to get along like adults get along. Adults ought to be able to get along like civilized nations." Charlie pauses in mid-sentence, scratches his head, and says, "somewhere my analogy breaks down."
The Bible speaks of peace in the broadest of terms. "Shalom"—the Hebrew term refers to wholeness, healthy goodwill and wellbeing, not just the absence of conflict. Such peace is the desire of nations, of families, college dorms, and even churches.
Sad to say, followers of Jesus, the prince of peace, haven't always been any better at peace than the rest of the world. In fact, a war was once fought over—of all things ...
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