“PEACE I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”John 14:27 (NRSV)
It is almost two months since the country went into lockdown and I am extremely aware that this has created a complex and challenging environment in which to operate. It has been a time of great trials and troubles. I am confident that God has continued to protect and provide for you during this difficult time. Most importantly, I hope you have been able to keep your peace in the Lord, with yourself and others. In this letter, I am going to reflect on peace.
In English, ‘peace’ is generally used to mean an absence of (or freedom from) conflict – either in a situation or in a person’s relationship to a situation. We often say that someone is ‘at peace’ with something. In the Bible, however, peace (shalom in the Old Testament and eirene in the New Testament) is deeper than this freedom from conflict – it also involves people living in good relationships with those around them, with creation and with God.
As I am writing to you, my mind is grappling on how our communities and the entire world can be at peace. Justice and peace, in many different parts of the world, are lost dreams rather than a lived experience. My heart is filled with sadness and anger following the recent brutal murder of George Floyd (Black American) under police custody. George’s death has sparked some rioting and unrest in the US and across the world from angry protesters. George’s brother Terence calls for PEACE as he addresses the protesters at the site of his brother’s death, “Peace on the left, Justice on the right !”. May we always put PEACE first in all our situations, even in the worst case scenarios in life. That peace which is described by Paul as ‘peace that surpasses al understanding…’ (Philipians 4:7).
For your reflection:
How do we seek also ‘to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God? (Micah 6:8).
Prayer for Justice:
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:(dedicated to George Floyd and many others)
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your Friend & Minister,
Revd. Adam Nyawo