Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peace of God

There is an old hymn running through my mind today. "There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest near to the heart of God." It is a place I visit daily.

It is amazing to me how I never noticed this place before. Intent on my prayers I would miss the place of quiet rest. Examining my heart I did not see the heart of God. Worried about my sins I avoided the place that sin cannot molest. Now I see that peace is always present. It is the ground beneath our feet.

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you." The peace of Christ is unlike any peace the world knows. The peace of the world is a peace that is the absence of trouble. Christ's peace is peace in the midst of trouble. The peace we want is freedom from something; Christ's peace is freedom in something.

We look  for peace in the world. "If only this would change in my life, then I would have peace. If only I had that, then I would have peace. If only this wasn't the case, then there would be peace."

But Christ's peace is not dependent on the world. It is right here and now, in the world but not of the world. Nothing needs to change. Christ's peace is as full now as ever. The only thing that needs to change is our attention. When we pay attention to the peace of God that is always present, then there is peace. When we insist on paying attention to everything else, then there is no peace.

Jesus told Martha, "You are so distracted with so many things. That is why you are so upset all the time. There is only one thing needed. Mary has found it. That is why she is sitting quietly at my feet while you scurry here and there, upset about everything. Choose this one thing."

Thich Nhat Hahn says, "Peace is every step you take." There are no steps to peace; the steps are peace. There is no place you need to go, nothing you need to do, and nothing you have to have. Peace is here now, because God is here now. Where God is, there is peace.

The apostle Paul says, (quoting the older Torah scroll of Deuteronomy) "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'"(that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, "'Who will descend into the abyss?'"(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart."

Peace is here now in your heart. All we need to do is abide in it. It is peace that surpasses understanding. It is the perfect peace of God. "O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God, hold us who wait before Thee near to the heart of God."
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Image is Rose Window, Chartres Cathedral

1 comment:

  1. Industry? "Religion." (Cute. It's an industry I was engaged in for about 40 years--now retired, but still active in other ways.)

    It was your reference to Cleland McAffee's beautiful hymns, "Near to the heart of God," that first caught my eye this morning. But I appreciated your insightful comments. Do you know the story behind the hymn. If not, I invite you to check out my daily blog on hymns for today, Wordwise Hymns.

    And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” With the arrival of fall, we begin to think of the Christmas season up ahead. If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)

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