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"For he is our peace."

"For he is our peace." (Ephesians 2:14) This is simple, but not easy. It is not easy because many of us often think -- myself included, that peace is about having my position prevail. Which makes it more about power than peace. 'Peace reigns' is a hope that many of us carry. Which usually means that the boss, parent or the partner -- or the bishop, gets their way. That isn't peace. That is just another version of political power. "For he is our peace." Paul's statement is an invitation to go beneath the need to prevail, and beyond the desire to win people over. Paul's peace is the prayer book's peace -- that peace which passes all understanding. It is beneath anxiety and fear. It is hard to describe, but easier to see. I have seen it in the face of some people who are near death. Their bodies may be broken and filled with pain, but there is nevertheless present a peace which is beyond explanation. In that Christ-centered peace place, divisions take on a different perspective, adrenaline scales back to normal -- and love is palpable. As it is a peace which passes all understanding, it is a power that is beyond our knowing. "For he is our peace."


In Memory of John Lennon
Lyrics to "Give Peace a Chance"

Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism
Isn't it the most
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talking about
Ministers, Sinisters, Banisters and canisters,
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Pop eyes,
And bye bye, bye byes.
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, Mastication, Flagelolation, Regulations.
Integrations, Meditations, United Nations, Congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Oh Let's stick to it
Ev'rybody's talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary, Tommy smothers, Bob Dylan,
Tommy Cooper, Derek Tayor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,
Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Dear Reverend,

Today the recipient for the 2010 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Liu Xiaobo. Mr. Xiaobo could not be present to accept the award because he a prisoner in a Chinese jail. Mr. Xiaobo is a writer, educator and life long human rights activist. The Nobel Committee believes Mr. Xiaobo's life and work to be exemplar of the ideals of human rights and global peace. Mr. Xiaobo was imprisoned for advocating that his country should be more mindful of human rights and become more democratic. Mr. Xiaobo was not allowed to come to Oslo to receive the Peace Prize. This years Peace Prize was conferred to an empty chair.

The empty chair may be fated to be the metaphor of our time.

It is said that a prophet finds no honor in his own country. It is also said that China may have lost an opportunity to show commitment to human rights and the clemency of justice by ransoming their captive to allow him to collect his well deserved prize. So much impassioned enmity inflamed in the name of peace. Those who are wagging tongues, shaking fists and pointing an accusatory finger at China for desecrating the hollowed pursuit of peace should look into the mirror and dislodge the splinter from their own eyes.

We can't absolve China for its lax accords on civil rights. Nor can we overlook the continued prosecution of America's two wars or the incessant drumbeats for another against Iran. Our ears cannot shut out the screams of entrapped Palestinian's clinging to a vapid life in peace starved Gaza as our eye's behold the unending horror of the Grim Reaper threshing his way through the rubble of Port-Au-Prince with a cholera infected sickle. Our dread consumes us contemplating a divided nuclear Korea burying the prospect for peace in the false refuge of fearful bunkers and the horrific prospect of the slaughter of innocents commencing again as caravans of saber wielding Junjaweed take aim at Southern Sudan.

In Ephesians, Paul speaks of the man made malady of separation of the circumcised and the uncircumcised. We are all exiles from the peace of Zion, foreigners to the promise of the covenant until we embrace the covenant of peace by removing the barriers that separate us. The walls that cleave the unity of the beloved is the father of conflict. It is through the unity of the Holy Spirit that the exiles are called home to Zion to build the Kingdom and firmly reestablish The Prince of Peace on an earthly throne.

On Friday nights I attend a Men's meeting. We sit in a circle to share our experience strength and hope as beloved brothers. In the middle of our trusted circle we place unoccupied chair. At the beginning of the meeting the leader will say;

The empty chair in the middle of the room is saved for the still suffering alcoholic. It is there to remind us that he will always have a place in this room if he has an honest desire to recover.

The Good Shepard is forever faithful! The empty chair is miraculously transformed; always to remain open as a necessary condition for communities of hope. Those moved by the spirit will arrive at these well lighted places. Welcomed as a lost brother, the wounded wanderers will be tended to, nursed and nourished; so long as they carry a desire for restoration and light of hope within them. They too shall know peace.

The empty chair may be fated to be the metaphor of our time. It remains unoccupied, welcoming Liu Xiaobo to claim his welled earned rest and restoration in the Peace of the Lord.

The Prince of Peace
Dwells with us
Dwells within us
Dwells all around us
My peace I give to you.
My peace I leave you.
Not as the world giveth.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
Saith The Prince of Peace


Peace and prayers to all the beloved,


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