What does real peace look like? It is a profound question and one that we talk about during Advent. I think what most people mean when they talk about peace is a sort of subjective peace, you know, “that peaceful easy feeling.” A sort of calm in the midst of the storm. That is a good thing and most of us crave that—especially during Advent when the pressure is on to throw parties, buy presents in the midst of traffic jams, or to deal with armies of family who maybe come along only a couple of times a year. But that kind of peace comes and goes, doesn’t it? It is here one minute and gone the next, especially if you have children or are in traffic.
But the Bible imagines something deeper and more lasting and not just an individualistic kind of thing. The main way the Bible talks about peace is in an objective sense—peace with God. The whole story of the Bible is that the world is not the way it is supposed to be. Because of sin, people are not at peace at all and, in fact, the message of the Bible is that because of sin we are actually at war with God. Imagine that, if your whole life you are in an unreconciled relationship with the God of the Universe?
Another way the Bible talks about peace is in terms of human flourishing—when things are rightly related to each other. We all long for both of these. We long to know that in a real sense we are in right relationship with the creator of the universe and we long to see human flourishing around us. The good news is that long before Jesus came in his first Advent in Bethlehem, the prophet Isaiah said the one who would come would be called, “The Prince of Peace.” Jesus Christ came to be our peace and to bring a kingdom of peace.
This Sunday we are looking at a passage in Revelation 19 (it would be helpful if you read this before Sunday). In this passage we have a bizarre picture of Jesus as the bringer of peace. It is not like you think, it is highly imagined and was given pastorally to a people who lived in a time much like today. It is full of wild promises that assure us that we can have peace with God now, and also tells how we are to be the kind of people who bring peace now.
Interested? Hope to see you Sunday.