Friday, January 25, 2013

Spartacus and the Source of Peace

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about peace.  When we have church meetings or Bible studies, I always close our time by praying that we would be covered by God’s peace until we come together again.  At the end of the service each Sunday, we pray together and ask God to “send us now into the world in peace.”  Every time we say those words, though, I think, “How can we truly have peace when our worlds are so disturbed?”  I’m not just talking about global conflict and famine, either.  Our personal worlds are disturbed: our homes, our workplaces, our souls.  From where, then, can peace come?

Peace, I think, comes from hope.  The hope that this is not the way things were meant to be and that this is not the way they will be forever; that there is a time and place beyond this one where “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes” (Rev. 7:17).  In Psalm 121, the psalmist says that he lifts “up [his] eyes to the hills,” wondering, “From whence does my help come?”  Immediately, though, he answers his own question: “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

The psalmist knows what we often forget: that help (and therefore peace) must come from another; from outside of us, and from a place up on the hill rather than down in the valley, where we reside.  The reason we often lack peace is that we believe it is up to us to shape our destinies.  Have you seen the trailer for the Starz show, “Spartacus: War of the Damned?”  The last lines are: “Whatever happens to my people, it happens because we choose for it.  We decide our fate.”  It’s no coincidence that the show is subtitled “War of the Damned.”  If whatever happens to us is due to our choices and we decide our own fate, then we are surely lost.  If all of that is true, then we are at war (with ourselves, with others, and with God), and we are damned.

If we turn our eyes upward, though, elevating them above the fray that fills our valley, and look up to the hills, we can see from whence our help comes.  It comes from God, who not only created heaven and earth, but who sent his son to wage a victorius war on death and damnation.  He is, as God the Father, the source of our peace.  As God the Spirit, he is the presence of that peace. As God the Son, he is our peace.

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