Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Peace Is All Around

When I was younger I was on a spiritual search. Then one day I was simply following Jesus, and I found myself at peace. I saw what was right before my eyes. The heart of the spiritual life is not a destination; it is a journey. The early Christians called it “the Way.” It is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Now I wonder: What’s the big deal about a spiritual search? What is there to look for? God is right before our eyes. All we have to do is wake up and see!

We live in a God-drenched universe. The peace of Christ exudes from every living thing. It peeks out from every bush. It rests under every rock. It is within us as the Kingdom of God, as Jesus taught. Christ is alive here and now. As Jesus said, according to the Gospel of Thomas, "Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift a stone and you will find me." Or as he said in the Gospel of Matthew, "I am with you always."

The Way of Christ is not to be found in a creed or a religion. It is not about doctrine or ritual. It is the living presence of Christ. Christ is. As Jesus was fond of saying, "I am." Or as God said to Moses, "I am that I am." There is nowhere God is not. There is no time when God's peace is not present.

This awareness is my constant companion. It is like background music. I may not always be conscious of it playing, but all I have to do is turn my attention to it, and I find myself humming along. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sings his handiwork. How can people not join the song?

Not that I don't have my share of problems. I do, and they are real, and they can hurt. But they are storms that come and go. The discordant noise of the world can drown out the peace of God momentarily, like a car booming out ear-thumping hip hop beside you at a stop light. But then the light changes, the noise moves on, and the hymn of the universe returns.

Furthermore I do not always avail myself of the peace that is at hand. I get caught up in my sins, quirks, and personality flaws. I am apt to wallow in the mud even when the streams of living water are available for bathing. I have bouts of spiritual amnesia, when I forget who and what I really am. Then I remember that peace is always present, even if I am not present to it.

This is the peace of Christ. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you." This is the apostle’s “peace of Christ that surpasses human understanding, which guards your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is eternal life.  Not a reward waiting for us after death, but a reality accessible here and now. This is our birthright. Peace is all around. Welcome home.

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