I've been pondering the meaning of peace lately. I've felt the lack of peace keenly over the last year or so, probaby longer. I have a restive spirit. I long to develop that inner core of calmness and stability, but find my feathers all too ruffled, all too disturbed by people, events, and circumstances which I cannot control.
A monk went to his abbot complaining of his dificulties. "My feet get burned on the hot sand, " he complained. "My feet are bruised by the pebbles on the pathways. I cut the sole of my foot on broken glass in the kitchen." The abbot responded, "My brother, you can put leather over the whole world or you can put sandals on your own feet." I'm seeking to put sandals on my feet, so to speak.
The world looks at peace like this (from Dictionary.com):
the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
( often initial capital letter ) an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism: the Peace of Ryswick.
a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.
the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security: He was arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace.
cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension
Jesus said,"I leave you peace, my peace I give you" in John 14. Here's what it says in the Amplied Version about peace: Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
Isn't that great? Isn't that so much better than an "absence of hostilities." Please note that Jesus didn't say, "I give this to you if you're perfect." He didn't say, "You can have this if you cross off all the items on your To Do List." He didn't suggest, "Hey, as long as everyone else is doing what YOU think they should, then you'll be peaceful." He said, "I bequeath you my peace." Think about that, not the peace of the world...he gave us HIS peace.
My grandmother bequeathed a Georgian tea service to me. It is precious both in monetary value, but even more so in its personal value to me in the memories we shared. So precious, in fact, that you can see it in the top picture on this blog.
I was in California when my beloved Helen died. Once I settled down here in Virginia, I drove to my father's home where he had carefully stored this treasure for me. I had to accept what Helen left to me.
So, also, I have to accept Jesus' peace. I have to recognize when I have no peace, such as this morning after I sent a snarky email today in response to an even snarkier email I received. I felt no peace afterwards. Thankfully, I was able to "unsend" it befor the recipient opened it. I'm learning to recognize when my peace is stolen and to take immediate action to get it back. Soon, I hope not even to leave that sense of peace so I don't have to return to it.
Remember, the Bible says, "stop letting yourself be agitated or disturbed or unsettled." Check that out. You let yourself be unsettled. You let yourself.
Be the peace you seek.