WAR AND PEACE

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

(Part 38)

WAR AND PEACE

December 1, 2014

Today’s readings:

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122:1-2,3-4,8-9

Matthew 8:5-11

Outside the walls of the United Nations are these words from Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Is 2:4b). A great ideal. But unfortunately the UN has failed. Today there is much armed conflict in the world. Even those nations that had been peaceful have been turned into killing zones. Plowshares have been turned into swords and pruning hooks into spears.

Why has the UN failed? Because its mission is based entirely on secular wisdom. Further, it has now almost totally abandoned Judeo-Christian principles, as has many western nations, contrary to the vision of their founding fathers. Still further, the UN is now the oppressor, warring against the unborn children and against faith and family, in its misguided efforts at social action twinned with contraception, abortion and gender equality (read: favoring sexual diversity and homosexuality).

But what is the true peace of Christ? What did God intend for the world He created?

People need to have true wisdom, that comes from God and His word in the Bible. For this to happen they need to have faith in Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to instruct them in how to live. “Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (Is 2:3b).

Who instructs us? It is Jesus through his Holy Spirit. In turn the Holy Spirit works through the Church that Jesus established. We must be docile to the Spirit and subject ourselves to the Lord’s authority. The centurion understood this. “And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Mt 8:9b). Jesus sends us to be peacemakers.

As his servants, we are to heed Jesus commands. Jesus says, “Come here,” and so we go to him. We encounter him in a personal relationship. We experience him not only as Savior and Lord but as a friend. We are to meet Christ and to live Christ. Jesus says, “Go,” and we go out on mission in the world. We live out what he commissioned us to do, to proclaim the gospel throughout the world. We are to share Christ. Jesus says, “Do this.” We must realize that we are to be faithful servants and committed soldiers, who only do what is the will of God for our lives and for the life of the world.

How can we have true peace in the world? This is shalom, when people are truly in right relationships with each other. It is not just the absence of war. It is not stopping armed conflict through a peace treaty. It is not having UN troops maintaining “peace.” It can only happen in and through Jesus Christ. It is when people’s minds and hearts are transformed. It is when people truly love God and love their neighbor. It is when people look to the well-being of others and not just themselves. It is solidarity.

True peace cannot be achieve by world leaders coming together at the UN to talk about peace, when they are basically just concerned about their own nation’s well-being and self-interest. True peace comes when peoples and nations turn to God. It is not to New York that they should go, but to the Lord’s house. “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it.” (Is 2:2).

How does the world avoid war and have peace? “House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!” (Is 2:5). Peoples and nations must turn to God. There we will find true wisdom. “For from Zion shall go forth instruction” (Is 2:3c). There we will find true justice. “He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples.” (Is 2:4a). There we will find salvation. “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 8:11). There we will find great joy. “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Ps 122:1).

There we will find true peace. “For the sake of my brothers and friends I say, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Ps 122:8).

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