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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Eirene--Peace to you

As our church here progresses through John, we reached chapter 20, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.  The first words out of his mouth, repeatedly, are "Peace to you".  So I looked up the words on my handy Bible Hub app where one can find the actual greek, and links to all other uses.  48, to be exact, but what jumped out is that a significant portion fall in three times:  the angels announcing Jesus' birth (peace to all humans), the crowds rejoicing in Jesus' entry to Jerusalem (peace in heaven), and Jesus' post-resurrection reassuring greetings to the followers (peace to you).  The coming of the Messiah into human history, God says, brings peace.  Yes, I know there are other passages about judgement, a stone on which people stumble, persecution, the cross.  Those are true.   But the end-game is peace.

This, this week, is good news.  I don't know about most churches, but ours is probably similar to 1rst century Palestine in that politics, war, unrest, and injustice seep into the prayer time.  We talk about the nations.  About the elections.  We pray for peace.  We talk about floods in Houston and violence in Virginia, about threats from North Korea or riots in India too.  But mostly we pray for Kenya, which is only appropriate since that's where we all live. Tomorrow the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the validity of the Presidential election.  Schools have reopened and most people are trying to get back to life on a normal pace.  The court is unlikely to change that trajectory.  But there are still unanswered questions about ballots and numbers, and the initial confidence of the international observers has been slightly dampened by the suspicious obstructions of those in power.  So we all hold our breath a bit, waiting to see.  What will the court rule?  How will the losers react?

In this context, it is good news that Jesus brings peace, peace that is more than just an internal assurance of an otherworld escape.  The peace Jesus talks about riled up the powers that be because it has implications for the here and now.  That peace is based upon reconciliation, the breaking down of barriers, the foundation of love which allows us to rest from the scrambling conflict of self-protection and promotion.

Please pray for Kenya tomorrow, and for our world daily, that peace would permeate us all.

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