The Nourishing Place
Sermon, November 10, 2019
Veterans Day acknowledges men and women through the decades who have given their time, sometimes their lives, to help keep us free. That kind of freedom means peace. Veterans day honors all who have served our country in war or peace, dead or alive, although it is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service. At the end of World War I on November 11, 1918 it was called Armistice Day. People thought this was the war to end all war! Peace was at hand. However, very soon after other wars occurred: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, on and on even unto today. Peace is illusive and world peace is only a concept...not a reality.
The concept of world peace is the idea of a state of happiness and freedom among all people and nations on earth. This is an idea of nonviolence to solve national and international problems. It is a motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate so that people around the world can utilize lives and resources for beneficial aims rather than to use for development of weapons of mass destruction. Today, with all the wisdom gained through the centuries, world peace is still just a concept, just an idea, not a reality. All the ideas put forth up to today have not been successful. So, how do we achieve world peace?
Perhaps world peace will not be a reality until human beings themselves desire personal peace, inner peace, peace that passes understanding. There is a difference in world peace and personal peace. World peace is an external phenomenon. If it ever happens it will happen outside of us. It will happen through mediation, through treaties that are honored, and wise leaders getting together to solve world problems.
But personal peace, inner peace, does not happen outside of us. It happens inside of us. Peace, inner and personal, is a state of psychological or spiritual calm in spite of stress and free from the effects of stress. Inner peace comes with personal self acceptance. And that occurs when we as humans learn how to release anger, guilt, pain, sadness, or anything that limits us from being strong in our own lives.
Most people associate peace with the absence of trouble. And that is a negative way to view inner peace. There is a positive way to view inner peace and that is through our own spiritual being. Our spiritual side is closely associated with the God who created us...so we can learn about inner peace from the stories about God in our bible. The great spiritual teacher Paul found peace even in a damp, dark jail chained to a wall. He wrote he had peace in this jail and was able to remain confident that in his heart and mind God was still gracious to him. So he sang in jail, praised God, and eventually brought the jailer and his family into the arena of love. There are other biblical stories of people who experienced peace...Mary when she accepted her role in bringing Jesus to life, the apostles once they understood what Jesus had given them, and the great missionaries who told the story of peace around the known world.
However, the greatest story is from Jesus himself. The night before he was arrested, beaten, and murdered, he took time to be with his disciples, to comfort them and to offer them peace. He is quoted as saying, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you, not as the world does, but as I do. Therefore let your heart not be troubled, nor be afraid. John 14:27
The Jesus kind of peace helps us remain calm in the most awful of circumstances. This peace does not come through situations and circumstances. Rather it rises above all situations and circumstances to affect them and over-rule them. This kind of peace is not an emotion, rather it is a fact, one we put our minds on to do and to accomplish. This kind of peace is a gift to you from God himself. It is a gift you accept, unwrap and use through his power. This peace is experiential. It is a tranquility of the soul, a positive peace that changes the circumstances in life. It is a divine gift available to you when your want it enough to ask for it, accept it, and make it a permanent practice. This peace that Christ offers us is a peace that stands guard and keeps worry from corroding our hearts and unworthy thoughts from tearing up our minds. The peace of Christ is also an unending source of strength in the midst of difficulties.
The task set before each one of us is this: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” You already have this peace. It is a gift. You know you have it, now you are to use it, today, tomorrow, and every day. It makes you one with the source of all peaceful living...the Christ himself. Amen
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