Welcome to Welling for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. Peace. That is not a theoretical abstract notion. It has to be an experienced, existential notion based on an anchor which is true and right. Which cannot only claim it,but deliver it. That is not simply a slogan on a sign, but actually a strategy and an action.
When I speak to you on this matter of peace, this is a very important time in my own life. And therefore, I come as one who seeks the same source of peace which I recommend to you. The Apostle Paul, at the end of 2 Thessalonians, gave a wish but also a prayer to the Thessalonian church.
It says, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.” That phrase, in every circumstance, can actually be translated in every manner, in every way. If you look at some translations of that verse, you’ll find them translating every circumstance. But other translations say in every way, in every manner.
And, of course, they go together. If you don’t have God’s peace in every way, in every circumstance, or if you don’t have God’s peace in every circumstance, in every way, it’s really not God’s peace. It’s a deficient peace. It’s an insufficient peace. Peace is the cry of the human heart.
From when we were babies, people have tried to pacify us. For our babies, we try to pacify them with those little things that they can suck on so they would be at peace. More recently, there have been ways of trying to find adults peace through physical, oral manners. They chew their nails or bite on pens, or they twist their pens trying to find peace in the middle of nervousness and anxiety.
I have a friend, a brilliant dermatologist who writes a weekly thought. He’s also a great preacher in illustrating peace. Recently, he talked about how adults use cell phones and smartphones as a pacifier. He quotes from a researcher who talks about how he was feeling good and feeling secure, feeling peaceful just holding a smartphone, and how smartphones pacify consumers.
Not only the physical need to make a call, but the emotional benefit from holding it. They receive comfort, some relief from stress. There is portability of the device, of course. However, the very touch of a phone seems to pacify people. Now, those are ways in which we can find peace, more sophisticated ways, where religions and ideologies tell us about mindfulness techniques.
There’s a whole bunch of literature in mindfulness as a treatment in a stress-ridden world. There is no established superiority in mindfulness from the studies that we know. Just being quiet, taking a nap is a mindfulness strategy. If you concentrate on mindfulness too much, you may become self-focused.
And self-construed mindfulness, researchers are now saying, leads us to selfishness. And instead of self-care, which is good, self-compassion will make you feel and be less generous with the needs around you. So be careful about this mantra of mindfulness, which often mindlessness in different levels and layers of consciousness.
I ask you, in what manner do you need peace, do you seek peace? Well, the Lord– the Lord of peace, the one who rules all reality– will be sufficient for your peace in every way and in every circumstance. Not in theoretical ways, but in experienced ways. Not in abstract ways, but in existential ways.
When the Apostle Paul calls Him the Lord of peace, that he’ll continually grant you peace– not only at all times, in all circumstances, but in all your ways– He is the ultimate pacifier. And bringing peace in our relationship with God Himself, peace in our relationship with people.
Which is often a consternation, brings anxiety, but also peace in relationship to yourself. Why? The presence of the Lord is the manner in which we experience the peace of the Lord.