Musings From Mountains and Valleys-Advent II 2022
“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
What is it that we are looking for when we say we want peace? I think it often means that we want to avoid conflicts from without and turmoil within. It’s Ringo’s new age benediction of “peace & love” for the world and personal freedom from anxiety through diversified portfolios, mindfulness, and medication.
There is certainly a place for all the above, but somehow a lot of what we do to find peace falls woefully short. There is something about human nature that cannot sustain a state of repose. As Hemmingway’s Passini observes, “The is no finish to a war…War is not won by victory.” Life is a bit like a Seinfeld episode from the 90’s, where we all are Frank Costanza, chanting “serenity now” as society fragments and the world grows angrier and more anxious.
Jesus promised a different kind of peace “not as the world gives” (John 14:27). It is a peace that is found in Bonhoeffer’s call to do the right thing, which cost him his life. It the kind of peace that is found in a teenage girl’s consent to give birth to the savior of the world, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Genuine peace is not found in the absence of stress and conflict, but rather in choosing the right battles.