When Paul wrote a letter to a church, he often ended it with a blessing. This was true when he wrote a letter to the church in Thessalonica (what is now modern day Greece). Instead of simply saying goodbye or so long Paul ends his letter by saying…
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”
—2 Thessalonians 3:16
Paul wishes for the Thessalonians to experience peace— true, authentic peace. I’d like to explore what Paul says about peace as a way to get us ready for this Sunday’s Peace Service. Peace is incredibly important— both in our world and in ourselves— and we’re dedicating this Sunday to exploring the topic.
What does Paul teach us about peace?
1. We worship the Lord of peace.
God is a God of peace. Paul could have described God in a number of ways— God of love, God of hope, God of salvation. All of these attributes are true.
But Paul chose to remind us that the God we worship is a God of peace. Peace is a central characteristic of God.
When we move toward peace in our relationships, we more accurately resemble the God we worship. When we move away from peace (towards conflict or violence) we less resemble the God of peace.
2. The Lord of peace is the one who gives us peace.
When you are in need of peace of mind, where do you go? Is there a calming place in your house you can sit for awhile? Is there a particular activity that brings you peace— maybe reading a book or going for a walk?
All of these activities are like sign posts that point us to the ultimate source of peace— God. And God wants to give us peace.
I believe that when we search for God earnestly in our lives, we will find the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Which leads us to…
3. God’s peace is all-encompassing— at all times and in every way.
Could Paul be any clearer?
God’s desire is for us to have peace at all times (and in every way). Sure, there will be moments that we don’t feel at peace. There will be occasions when we are in conflict with others. Many times the conflict will be out of our control— it will be something happening to us. Yet even in these times, God wants to provide us with peace.
Is it possible to feel God’s peace in the midst of life’s storms?
Paul seems to think so.
Notice— Paul is not referring to a trite feeling of peace. This is not a “stick your head in the sand and everything will be ok” type of peace.
The Greek word Paul uses is εἰρήνη. This words refers to wholeness. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the experience of wholeness within. Conflict makes us feel fragmented. When you’re upset you may say, “I feel really torn up.” Peace puts us back together and makes us feel whole once again. With God, it is possible to feel whole (at peace) even when life is trying to pull you apart.
Join us on Sunday at 9:30 or 11 am as we dive deeper into the topic of peace.
Also, we only have two weeks left of our Stewardship campaign. If you have not yet turned in an Estimate of Giving, please do so by Nov. 6. The Finance Team uses the estimates to create the 2023 budget. You can turn them into the box in the Gathering Area or online at https://unitypres.elvanto.net/form/31381eda-dd5f-4747-a524-dae95c13611d. Thank you for your generosity toward this church!
See you on Sunday!