Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by the Divine, inherit the kin-dom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Matthew 25: 34-36
It often seems as though the notion of Peace is portrayed in a fashion designed to make it seem either ineffective or unattractive. Sure, we all yearn for a sense of peace in our own lives, by which we generally mean a life in which the levels of stress dissipate to something more manageable, or perhaps we would like to be able to make personally beneficial decisions in our lives, without the claw of conscience pricking at us. We sit in meditation, or do our Yoga, or tend our gardens, or switch to decaf, in pursuit of that inner calm, but that isn’t Peace, not really, not with a capital P.
It is interesting that, in our current political climate, there is such a profound gap between candidates who, recognizing the shape of a global economy, wish to pursue policies of cooperation and mutual benefit, and those who want to sell us on the Might Makes Right, Winner Takes All, policies of Empire. In these circumstances the notions of Peace are often cast aside as strategies for losers, or conveyed with a sense of the Pax Romana, the Peace enforced at the end of a sword. I’m telling you, it has a bad rap.
And rightly so, for Peace, in the biblical sense, is neither a warm fuzzy toddy for the soul, nor is it the conquest of military might. Peace, in the biblical sense is never far from the notion of Justice, we cannot have the one without working for the other. As the well worn bumper sticker suggests, “if you want Peace, pursue Justice.” You see, the ancients knew full well that Peace can never be achieved in isolation, we cannot have it just for ourselves.
“Peace and love are always alive in us, but we are not always alive to peace and love.”
Julian of Norwich
“It is not enough to say that love of God is inseparable from the love of one’s neighbor. It must be added that love of God is unavoidably expressed through love of one’s neighbor Conversion to (God) implies conversion to the neighbor.”