Monday, March 12, 2012

Peace

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

Here, in John 14, our Lord was about to leave this world; and He knew it. So on this night, in His high priestly prayer, He makes His last requests known; kinda like a living will -- the world's first living will. His soul he committed to his Father; His clothes, He knew would fall to the soldiers; His mother, He would leave in the care of John: but what did He leave to His disciples, and all those who would believe on Him through them? Silver and gold He had none; but He left them, and us, something infinitely more valuable, His peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." I not only give you a title to it, He said, but I give you possession of it.  As a dying father leaves his portions to his children; so His peace is a part of our inheritance as lambs of the Living God; and it can never be taken from us if we do not give it up.

This peace is a harmonic rightness with God implanted deep within our hearts, it is also a budding union with all of God’s universe. Natural forces are at our back, when we are right with God and walk in His peace;  as it is written “The whole creation groans and waits for the manifestation of the children of God.” When a man is one with the Maker he has the co-operation of all that the Maker has made. The winds and currents are his friends, and  the heavens fight on his side -- even the stones of the field lay in covenant with the lamb living in the flow of God's peace.

Most people, when they think of a peaceful setting, would seek it near some secluded mountain-lake, nestling quiet and untroubled far from the beaten path, and where even the cry of a nature is only rarely heard. It is by these “still waters,” and in these deep silences, that they call to mind the gift of peace. Others may see visualizations of a different sort, a beach, a boat, it could be anything; but for me when I think on the peace of God, I think of the verse from Isaiah: thy peace is like a river. this may seem, at first glance, like an odd choice, but for me, the peace our Lord bequeathed to us is a peace of motion and fulfillment, not one necessarily of quiet and stillness.

How prescient and thoughtful was the prophet’s choice of a river as his figure of peace.  Not a lake, not a pool, not a scene of quiet and stillness, but a river. He is not necessarily deriding the idea of a peaceful quietude; he is trying to point to a quality of life and movement:  peace is not motionless quietude, but quiet motion. Peace has its appropriate figure in the brimming river,  quiet because of its steadiness and depth. God's peace in our souls, my friend,  is liquid, frictionless motion, in the midst of the chaos that surrounds it. What he was trying to get across to us is that  this perfect peace is found in a lamb's life only when that life moves and breathes in God’s life without complaint, without fret,  and without friction. It is not so much found in the absence of sound as in the absence of any discordant notes. The peace of Christ is musical movement, it is a divine harmony of spirits.

Our Master’s conception of this peace is given in His often repeated words, “I and My Father are one.” When one life flows into another life with seamless perfection; commingling—will with will, soul with soul, heart with heart, the two become one, this is the the essential secret of experiencing and living in His peace. And when that perfect commingling is between the the lamb's heart and God, he will have learned the secret of perfect peace. That was the peace our Lord enjoyed -- His peace, and this is the peace He  has promised and provided, “My peace I give unto you.”

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