by Christopher Harbin

Source of Peace
Christopher B. Harbin
Matthew 8:18-27

"Pray for world peace." If I have heard it once, I have heard it said a thousand times. It is said so often, yet without a desire to act in such a way as to make peace a reality. When we think of peace, we consider it in the sense of peace as the opposite of war. Peace, as we define it, is the absence of conflict. We say it is living without the violent pressures that would change our course—the resolution of the storms and anxieties of our living. What we do no perceive, perhaps, is that such a definition requires that peace be nonexistent, if we know it only as the absence of things like conflict, turbulence, and anxiety. In themselves, our normal definitions for peace do not give peace a full reality. In Christ, however, peace has its own identity and existence. Peace is something real, much more than the mere absence of conflict. The question is, from where comes such a reality we claim to desire, even when we cannot define or understand it?
Those who came before Jesus were still focused on their life circumstances. There were between two worlds, but they did not understand that Jesus' message called them to a completely distinct reality than the one to which they were accustomed. They heard Jesus' words and were happy with his message. At the same time, however, they were preoccupied with the concerns of their day to day lives. They wanted the security of a shelter; they prioritized their familial ties; they sought God's peace while their lives revolved around their priorities and anxieties, all of which distanced them from divine peace. It was necessary for them to be changed into new creatures in God, but they only wanted a splash of paint on the walls of their lives.
The teacher of the law recognized something different in Jesus, but he wanted that distinction to remain bound within his formulas and rituals. He wanted to adapt Jesus' message to his routines and way of life. He wan ...

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