Thursday, third week of Lent
"The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:7
"The Silence", 1953, Carel Weight
The safety of peace has nothing at all to do with aloofness from other people, with keeping oneself free from the risk of emotional pain. Carel Weight's The Silence shows three people (almost three generations), motionless, silent, enclosed in their walled space, protected against the outside world and one another. Not one of them is at peace. They sit or stand stiffly, coldly, worryingly remote from family closeness. To isolate oneself is not to be at peace, and makes the acceptance of true life (which peace entails) impossible. Peace does not reject our longings, it is warm, not cold - a passionate commitment to becoming a full person. This means sacrificing the tidy goals of the fantasy person, one of which is that it is possible to live fruitfully in hostile isolation from our fellows.
Isolation, no peace...I saw this video the other day and it filled the room with fresh air. I commend it to you. This video of Andy Stanley addressing the Georgia state legislature on the topic of division stoked by political leaders.
Jesus prays for unity in the body of Christ before his death.
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Father, thou art the God of love. When we look at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ we see that love poured out for us. What remarkable love that is, love that will not let us go, love that pursues us despite our rebuffs, love that never gives up, relentless in its pursuit until we yield, broken, melted by thy love. Lord, this is the nature and character of the love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. It is this remarkable thing that the world waits to see in Christian people. It is the absence of this, Father, that makes them turn away from our doors, uninterested, disappointed. Lord, teach us then to love one another. Whatever this may mean in terms of our personal circumstances, teach us, Father, to love one another. We pray in Christ's name, Amen.