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Peace

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:21-26, NRSV)

Interesting this text comes up for 9/11…

Peace. If you have something against your brother or sister leave your gift and go and make amends before you bring your gift to the altar. First, be reconciled and then come before God.

This is why in the Lutheran order of service the sharing of the peace is before communion. Because if there is something you need to handle or an issue you have with a brother or sister, you go and make peace, or share God’s peace before you come before the altar of God.

So give God’s peace as he gave it to you!

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Peace

Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation towards us. Will you be angry with us for ever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps. (Psalm 85, NRSV)

God will bring peace in His time. Let us all pray this psalm so that God’s time would make more sense to us.

Let your peace come o Lord!

 

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Fruit of the Spirit

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-26, NRSV)

Are any of us led by the spirit?

I ask this because even the most pious Christians I know are fornicators, they have impure thoughts, have idols, and are a part of strife, and factions, they get jealous and angry and quarrel with others, they play a part in dissensions, and are envious, get drunk, and carouse. So if even the best among us do these things, how do any of us have hope. And one could go as far to say Jesus might have done some of these, and we can say for certain that He was angry, because He turned over the tables in the temple to drive out the money changers. Well, but that was righteous anger! Uhm, the reading above does not distinguish and simply says anger.

But if you are led by the spirit you will not do these things. You will produce the fruit of the Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is…

Not the Fruits of the Spirit are. Love is the fruit of the Spirit, which is made complete in joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All of these are what love is.

So love God and your neighbors, and live in the fruit of the Spirit.

 

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Peace or truth?

His eye is on the sparrow, quilt made by Judy Hand Pitts.

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:24-39, NRSV)

What do we want in life?

There are many times we will not speak the truth because we want peace.

Other times we stand up for what we know is right and we speak the truth in love and are met with a troubled response. The serene peaceful come back we expected did not happen. And in the words of Angie Thomas, “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Things still go wrong because we can not bear the truth sometimes. We can not let go of the past and move into the reality that God is calling us into.

This sword that Jesus says He is bringing is not one we are yielding out of spite, it is one that is yielded out of love, because people are laying down their lives and following after Jesus and others can not see the love that Jesus has for them. They are put against those they loved because they do not see as their loved one sees. They do not comprehend as their loved one comprehends. And there for there is not peace. There is anger and hurt. But this is not a reason to stop with the truth.

So be diligent in speaking the truth and know that in time God’s peace will come.

 

 

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Live in peace

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:11-13, NRSV)

Easier said than done right?

Live in peace, agree with one another…

Not always easy, but it is what Christ calls us to.

And He will be with us to help us do that.

So let His peace overflow your life so the world might live in peace.

 

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Fulfilling Love

170212“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:21-37, NRSV)

Really Jesus, if my eye offends me pluck it out or if my hand offends me cut it off…

I guess none of us actually believe He meant this, or we don’t really follow it, or we are not honest. Becuase if we believed it and were honest there would be a lot of us without body parts, but I see no one walking around with one eye or missing hands.

So what does all of this mean? What is Jesus saying to us here?

Remember where this teaching falls, in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us who is blessed, those who have been held down because of things out of their control, and those who look after them. Then He continued with telling the disciples you are the salt of the earth and the light to the world. You shine light on the darkness and bring to light things of God and you flavor the earth with the grace of God. And you do this by looking out for those who are held down in the blessings.

And here Jesus continues the look at who we as disciples should be.

We should not be angry with anyone because that draws away from the love that God has for all of us. [And a side note here, this is a scriptural reference for the passing of the peace in the ordo of service before we come to communion. “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” Now, this talks about offering a gift but it is also good for when we come and get the Holy Supper. If you have an issue with a brother or sister go and make peace about it before you come to the Lord’s Table.] Anger also keeps us from seeing God’s love for ourselves.

Adultery is us focusing on our own needs instead of the needs of others, and what God is leading us to do.

All of these you have heard it was said help us to focus on God and others and not ourselves. Where is your focus, because the law is fulfilled in us loving God and our neighbor.

So how can we fulfill love?

 

 

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peace

170203Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.  Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. (James 3:13-18, NRSV)

Peace is born not of our own interests, but from above.

It can only come through the righteousness of God and is sown in our hearts so it grows and blooms for all around us.

Follow after God and allow Him to sow His peace in your heart!

 

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