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Peace In Our Time
Most of my years have been lived in a world not at peace. World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the long, sporadic war between the Arabs and the Jews, the Balkan War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Freedom and the present conflict with worldwide terrorism crystallized by the World Trade Center attack have all been a part of my days lived out here on earth.
I clearly remember how much we looked forward to a time of peace following the end of World War II, only to become gradually aware of the fact that we were engaged in a Cold War with Soviet Communism. True, there was an absence of armed conflict, but this came at the price of living with mutually assured nuclear destruction between the United States and the Soviet Union. We lived in a shared state of terror, each fearing the annihilation of the world in an epochal nuclear war. We were quite definitely not living in peace.
The question immediately surfaces: What is peace?
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension but is the presence of justice and brotherhood,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We need to see peace in terms of presence, not absence. Take, for instance, peace within families. Many homes are filled with cold wars. Oh, maybe there’s an absence of pouting, shouting and open hostility, but all too often there are passive-aggressive daggers being hurled.
Presence is the key. But the presence of what? The presence of fairness, respect, caring and self-sacrificing love for the sake of the others, that’s what. The presence of God we find in Christ, that’s what. The presence of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, courage, and sensitivity to what’s going on inside the hearts, minds, and souls of all those others with whom we share relationships. This is true not only for us as individuals but likewise for us as a family of nations living as we do in this global village.
So, if you find yourself in a relationship that’s flawed, ask yourself what you can bring to that relationship that is of God. When, as, and if you do, you may wake up to find yourself living in peace with those around you. True, you cannot make it happen, but you can bring it to others and offer it to them as your gift of love.