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A Different Kind of Peace
We are in the habit of thinking too narrowly about peace. We understand it as being released from trouble or disorder, or having the chaos of our lives stilled. Because of this narrow understanding, we find Jesus’ words very disconcerting. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” These words sound harsh, even hostile. We have lived our lives thinking that we are supposed to pray to God to bring peace, calmness, and serenity into our lives. But, these words seem to indicate that the peace of God is anything but calmness and serenity. This kind of peace seems to disturb more than calm, stir up rather than soothe.

The Sanskrit word for peace is pac and means to bind or to fasten. It is the word we know as pact—to make a bargain. Perhaps Jesus is reminding us that the peace we think we want is, in fact, a peace that will bind us, fasten us to a pleasant, boring, but ultimately nondescript life, while the peace offered by heaven is full life—life rich, varied, raw, and real. Life in all of its deepest reality. Life that is fully alive, if you will. Perhaps Jesus is reminding us that he does not make bargains with anything less than that full life. The sword that Jesus brings cuts and cleaves us until we are unfastened from what is only a false peace and freed for full life.

--Rev. Canon Reneé Miller
from “"Lose Yourself in the Presence of God"”

Lose Yourself in the Presence of God

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