The words of an old song flow through my mind this morning. They bring to mind the ideal world that we all anticipate in Heaven. At the same time, God’s kingdom is here. He reigns where and when we let him. When we do so, we live more in peace and in love.
How do I know this? The Bible tells me so. Jesus preached of a kingdom here and now and of one in the future. The truth is – God’s kingdom is imperfectly here, now. Why imperfect? Because we are sinners, and we bring stress, fear, anxiety, and the like into our lives. It isn’t God’s fault that the world is not more peaceful. It is our fault. All of us are at fault. God gave us free will, and free will can be abused or perfected as we see fit. If perfected, then only with the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides us to greener pastures.
The truth is, peace begins with each of us. When we learn to more and more fully trust in God, we are at peace with our circumstances, regardless of whether they are cross carrying events or not. Yes, Jesus was in such emotional agony over the cross he was going to carry, and yet, based on biblical teaching, didn’t he also have to be at peace with following the Father’s will? I think so. The litany of saints who were put to death during the early ages of the Church are also a testament to this. They went to their death joyful, and grateful to God. They accepted. In fact, legend tells us of St. Lawrence, who, while being burned over the coals, said, “turn me over. I’m done on this side.” One of the church fathers, I believe it was St. Ignatius of Antioch, wrote letters to his local church asking them not to intervene on his behalf; to let him die a martyrs death for the glory of Jesus.
These are the witnesses of those who knew Jesus through first to third hand information. They had peace. They trusted in God, and knew that whatever happened was for God’s glory. Now that is faith. That is trust.
Spend some time today asking the Holy Spirit to show you how to better bring peace and love into your day. Ask him to let peace in the world begin with you. Ask him for wisdom on how to grow in trust, like a child who trusts his or her parents. Spend some time thanking God for the witnesses who have reminded us that being a disciple means taking the narrow road. Spend some time spreading peace through loving those who try to disrupt your peace today.
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, OP