Peace When There Is No Peace

Peace is always popular – so is preaching about peace. People want to know that everything will be alright and that all the pain and hurt of this life are worth it. We want to be assured that we are really not as bad as we seem and all will turn out in the end. And no wonder. Our world is overrun with chaos and uncertainty and true, lasting peace remains elusive. Our own lives can be equally chaotic as we deal with broken relationships and inner struggles. Peace is good and right, but it is hard to come by.

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Siege Works and a Few Strands of Hair

There is a way to make theology so abstract that it loses all meaning to us. Take for example the essential idea of salvation. We can so easily speak of our salvation without giving much thought to what lies behind it. Within the church we can talk endlessly about salvation and yet fail to think about what we are being saved from, or what we are being saved to. Salvation then becomes a part of our Christian jargon, but it rarely is defined in a tangible, even earthy, way. Of course, this can happen with any number of the creeds and doctrines of the church – they remain floating in the realm of the abstract instead of imbedding themselves deep within the concrete realm of our thinking, actions and imagination.

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Careful Building

The New Testament employs the metaphor of building to convey what the church is and how it functions. One merely has to open their bible to the book of Ephesians to see a prime example of this. In this letter Paul speaks of how the church in Ephesus, and by extension all churches, are like a building which is built on a foundation (the teaching about Christ) with an immovable cornerstone (Christ himself) as the unifying factor giving stability and direction. This building rises up from the ground and becomes a place where the presence of God, through his Spirit, really and truly lives: in other words, it becomes a “holy temple”. Furthermore, Paul explains how God gives leaders in the church who are tasked with building up the believers into unity in faith and a deeper knowledge and maturity in Christ.

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The Rejoicing God

God is holy. It is a fearful thing to come into the presence of such a holy God – just ask Isaiah. And it is an even more terrible thing to come under the wrath of God. God compares himself to a lion who will rip the wicked to shreds. Clearly we cannot relate to God in a casual, relaxed way, but rather must come to him in reverence, awe, and humility. We must throw ourselves at his feet, confess our evil, and depend only on his mercy. The mercy and grace by which God saves us demands a life of piety, holiness, and sacrifice.

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