First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

International Day of Peace

September 21, 2016

    We desire peace. We pray for peace. We work and strive for peace. We promote peace. Today we celebrate "International Day of Peace". Not to be too cynical but the world I see isn't very peaceful. The concept of a world filled with peace and unity is abstract at best and difficult, dare I say impossible to attain. The human spirit can only take us so far in this noble endeavor. Therein lies the rub; it is the human aspect that derails any hopes we have for lasting peace.

    Please hear me. I'm not against peace, in fact, I pray for peace. I also understand the nature of the world since the Fall in Genesis 3 has been embroiled in a never ending pursuit of personal accomplishment and greed. When men and women set aside the good of another person and solely seek their own pleasure and happiness, peace will often get a black eye.

    That humanity would come together in unity for the good of each other is not a new idea. In the beginning, God created male and female to live in harmony with each other and with their environment. The Garden was a place of peace. It didn't take long for that bubble to burst.

   The aftermath of that fateful moment in which the fruit was picked, eaten, and shared has forever held us in this spinning vortex of competition for fame, resources, and position. Peace will be scarce when we are busy belittling another person. Peace will be banished from the community when social norms are jettisoned. Peace and the hope it could bring dies a little more with each murder, with each bombing, with each malicious verbal barrage.

    If peace and the construct of it seems dead, then what are we to do? Give up? NO!

For those who have bent their knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a living hope. It is one place where our hearts find rest even in the midst of chaos and strife (Absence of peace). Jesus is our peace. The prophet Isaiah understood and foretold the coming eternal peace-maker Jesus Christ.

        To Us a Child Is Born

        "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the

        land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the

        way of the sea, along the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living

        in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their

        joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For

        as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their

        shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in

        blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,

        and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He

        will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and

        righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.      

        (Isaiah 9:1-7, NIV)

We can all agree the world is a very dark place. Take heart. The light of the world, Jesus Christ, is going to return and bring peace to this earth. Don't confuse His peace with fairies and unicorns. He will come as a victor in battle. He will run roughshod over our chief nemesis and peace stealer, Satan.

        The Rider on the White Horse 

        "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and

        True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many

        crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped

        in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white

        horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to

        strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of

        the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND

        LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16, NIV)

While we all pray for peace, it's likely we are praying for two different scenarios. Earthly peace born out of human striving will always fall short. Peace that surpasses our understanding and that which flows from the hand of Jesus Christ is eternal and to be sought. 

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