Posted by Mark Beckwith on December 11, 2010
As Paul writes eloquently about peace in the second chapter of Ephesians, I am drawn back to Paul Tillich's great work, The Courage to Be, which was written in 1952 -- and which I read in college. And which had an enormous influence on me. Tillich writes just as eloquently about the "God above God," which is the God beyond the God of our projections, beyond the God of our creation -- the God that we think (wrongly) we can control. The 'God above God' is the God who exists beyond our knowing -- who is beyond our sentient world of space and time. That is the God with whom we should be in relationship, Tillich writes. In the same vein, St. Paul's invitation to peace is -- for me, a peace beneath peace. It is a peace beneath the peace of a brokered deal or the absence of hostilities; it goes further than moments when the shouting and insults stop. Paul's peace is a deeper peace. This deep peace doesn't make conflict go away -- but enables us to see conflict differently. And not be consumed by that conflict. And to imagine (which means to create an image) of disparate positions or groups coming together in unity: "...that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it." (2:15-16) That is the peace with which we should be in relationship.