The news of the massacre of children in school in Pakistan overwhelms me. There is a part of me that becomes so angry. Such senseless killings. Coward is a word that comes to my mind. The people in the world that are so powerless that they must strike out at the most vulnerable and powerless--children. Education has long been the greatest threat to primitive structures of society. The educated have long been the target of oppressors in world history. Education cuts to the core of prejudice and injustice.
The children of the world deserve peace
We are confronted with our own unrest. The unrest of our culture in pursuit of justice while balancing order in our world. One wrong does not justify another wrong. Thugs--yes I said thugs--should not become martyrs of justice. Yes there is an obligation of peacekeepers to a just process. However, if one is being assaulted and in pursuit of a person committing a crime the situation is not innocent. A person's actions do have consequences. Since riding with law enforcement lately, I have become aware of their struggle and bravery to keep order in our world.
I still long for peace in my country.
What about the unrest in your own soul? We all have it at one time or another. It is with job. It could be with family. Sometimes it is just within us. The seeds of discontentment are planted and begin to uproot our contentment. Or contentment has always been a struggle for our individual life. Surely there are moments of peace but we find ourselves back in the panic of life faster than we imagined. Some of the unrest is a product of allowing others to "should" all over us. We infuse other's expectations into our being. "You should...."
How I long for peace in my own soul more often.
Maybe we confuse what peace means. We search for peace meaning the absence of struggle. We define peace as a world where there are no differences. Sometimes we want to define peace as when the world is like me. I am not sure that would be as peaceful as my mind imagines.
We sentimentalize the birth of Christ too much. We will sing "sleep in heavenly peace" on Christmas eve. Our sanctuaries will be so clean and proper. Did Mary and Joseph experience peace? Joseph was an older man who would be seen by his peers as marrying one of those young women that was undesirable. His friends would think he had lost his mind. Mary was a frightened young woman with far more questions than answers. She must have felt very much alone. They were homeless travelers relying upon the generosity of the world around them. Their first born son was born in a stable. What sense of peace would they have experienced?
The peace is knowing that whatever life is happening around you cannot keep God away. God has burst through the world to love you. God has insisted that God's presence and power be born. The Word has become flesh. Peace is the presence of God. During this season peace is the present of God through Jesus. It is this present and presence that answers the unrest of our world both near and far. It is this present and presence that offers our soul the peace that passes understanding.
Give peace and good will to those you meet. Give it to yourself as often as possible. Do not let anything rob you of the joy of this season.
Pray for me as I pray for you.
In the Master's Name,
Dr. M. Jack O'Dell