Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 13, 2018
Be at peace among yourselves. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 (NRSV)
Advent is a season of patient preparation and expectant waiting. The Church invites us to reflect each week on themes that lie at the heart of the incarnation of Jesus, and as it does, we are asked to shine a light into our own hearts, asking if what is true of Jesus is also true in some way of us. Are we a people who cling to an unshakable hope? Do we know the unspeakable joy of God drawing near?
Today we reflect for a few moments on the theme of peace. Jesus spoke a great deal about peace, and yet, his words are not always as straightforward as we might like! For example, in Matthew 10:34 we find Jesus saying, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Not quite what you’d expect from the Prince of Peace, is it? Whenever I read this verse, I think of one of my favorite Eugene Peterson quotes, where he reminds us, “When Jesus said that he came to bring not peace but a sword he was talking of the peace that allows persons to vegetate in sins and the sword that separates us from them.”
This Advent, we take time to identify places in our lives that we have accepted a false peace. Ways in which our life may be stable and lacking conflict, yet asleep to the deeper things of God and blind to our sins and shortcomings. I believe this is Paul’s heart in 1 Thessalonians. He seeks to awaken this early church community to a life lived with God through the power of the Spirit. He reminds them that this is a gift given to them by God (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24), and as they receive this gift for themselves, they are set free to give their lives away in radical, self-giving love towards the other.
If you feel restless and anxious, look no further than the Prince of Peace. Yet be open to a season of renovation that may require a painful reordering of your loves and affections. Like a knife in the hand of a skillful surgeon, the Lord brings his “sword” towards us with great love and affection, promising to set us free to truly know and encounter his perfect peace.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
Grant me, above all else, to rest in You, that my heart may find its peace in You alone; for You are the heart’s true peace, its sole abiding place, and outside Yourself all is hard and restless. In this true peace that is in You, the sole, supreme, and eternal Good, I will dwell and take my rest. (Prayer of St. Thomas à Kempis)
Are there places in your life that you’ve accepted a false peace that keeps you content and stable, but distant from the Lord?
If you feel restless and anxious, look no further than the Prince of Peace—Jesus. #WisdomHunters #peace
4 minutes- Jordin Sparks:
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