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Sermon Illustrations on peace

Background

Finding Peace

So you ask, “Where is peace to be found?” This question is answered clearly and powerfully in Isaiah 26: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (vv. 3–4) This passage tells us where peace is to be found. It is never found in trying to figure out the secret will of God. It’s not to be found in personal planning or attempts to control the circumstances and people in your life.

Peace is found in trusting the person who controls all the things that you don’t understand and who knows no mystery because he has planned it all. How do you experience this remarkable peace—the kind of peace that doesn’t fade away when disappointments come, when people are difficult, or when circumstances are hard? You experience it by keeping your mind stayed on the Lord.

The more you meditate on his glory, his power, his wisdom, his grace, his faithfulness, his righteousness, his patience, his zeal to redeem, and his commitment to his eternal promises to you, the more you can deal with mystery in your life. Why? Because you know the One behind the mystery is gloriously good, worthy not only of your trust but also the worship of your heart. It really is true that peace in times of trouble is not found in figuring out your life, but in worship of the One who has everything figured out already.

Taken from New Morning Mercies  by Paul David Tripp, © 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

Goes Without Saying

In a culture, the most important things usually go without being said. We Westerners don’t talk all the time about being individualists or about the importance of efficiency or why we prefer youth over old age. Those values just go without being said. Yet to the discerning eye, they are in the undercurrents of billboards and commercials and even influence our everyday decisions.

In Paul’s world, there were also things that went without being said. Caesar promised peace and security. When Jesus said he didn’t bring peace like the world did (Jn 14:27), he didn’t need to connect the dots. It went without being said what he meant. Caesar promised peace, but so did Jesus. They were kings offering competing kingdoms.

Taken from Misreading Scripture with Individualist Eyes by E. Randolph Richards and Richard James Copyright (c) 2009 by Ruth Haley Barton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

The Passing of the Peace

In the Anglican liturgy the passing of the peace comes after confession and absolution, on the heels of our reminder that we are forgiven. This too is no coincidence. Our forgiveness and reconciliation flow from Christ’s forgiveness of us.

Out of gratitude over the enormous debt our king has forgiven, we forgive our debtors. Receiving God’s gift of reconciliation enables us to give and receive reconciliation with those around us. In the end, God is the peacemaker. It is not simply “peace” that we pass to each other.

It is the peace of Christ, the peace of our peacemaker. Christ’s peace is never a cheap peace. It is never a peace that skims the surface or papers over the wrong that’s been done. It is not a peace that plays nicey-nice, denies hurt, or avoids conflict. It is never a peace that is insincere or ignores injustice. It’s a peace that is honest and hard-won, that speaks truth and seeks justice, that costs something, and that takes time. It is a peace that offers reconciliation.

Taken from Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. Copyright (c) 2016 by Tish Harrison Warren, p.175. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Peace Takes Time

In this short excerpt, noted Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas describes the integral link between peace and time:

Peace takes time. Put even more strongly, peace creates time by its steadfast refusal to force the other to submit in the name of order. Peace is not a static state but an activity which requires constant attention and care. An activity by its very nature takes place over time.

In fact, activity creates time, as we know how to characterize duration only by noting that we did this first, and then this second, and so on, until we’ve either gotten somewhere or accomplished this or that task. So peace is the process through which we make time our own rather than be determined by “events over which, it is alleged, we have no control.”

Taken from Christian Existence Today: Essays on Church, World, and Living In Between, Brazos, pp.253-66.

Scars Tell Beautiful Stories

In their excellent book, Mending the Divides, Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart describe a Japanese Pottery tradition that articulates the power of peace and reconciliation:

When we speak of peace, we can call to mind the ancient Japanese pottery tradition called Kintsugi. With this technique, a clay vessel is broken and then put back together, but not in its original form.

Instead the restoration process involves the use of pure gold to mend the divides and heal the fissures. The broken vessel is put back together in such a way that it is stronger and more beautiful than before it was broken. In Kintsugi, the scars tell beautiful stories of healing and restoration rather than painful stories of destruction.

Jon Huckins & Jer Swigart, Mending the Divides: Creative Love in a Conflicted World, InterVarsity Press.

Shalom Defined

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight. . . Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Eerdmans.

Shalom & Shalvah

Shalom, “peace,” is one of the richest words in the Bible. You can no more define it by looking in the dictionary than you can define a person by his or her social security number. It gathers all aspects of wholeness that result from God’s will being completed in us. It is the work of God that, when complete, releases streams of living water in us and pulsates with eternal life. Every time Jesus healed, forgave or called someone, we have a demonstration of shalom.

And Shalvah, “prosperity.” It has nothing to do with insurance policies or large bank accounts or stockpiles of weapons. The root meaning of leisure-the relaxed stance of one who knows that everything is all right because God is over us, with us and over us and for us in Jesus Christ. It is the security of being at home in a history that has a cross at its center. It is the leisure of the person who knows that every moment of our existence is at the disposal of God, lived under the mercy of God.

Taken from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson Copyright (c) 1980, 2000 by Eugene Peterson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Stories

Sleeping with Bread

During bombing raids of World War II, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding theri bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”

Dennis, Sheila Fabricant, and Matthew Linn, Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life.

Analogies

The Passing of the Peace

In the Anglican liturgy the passing of the peace comes after confession and absolution, on the heels of our reminder that we are forgiven. This too is no coincidence. Our forgiveness and reconciliation flow from Christ’s forgiveness of us.

Out of gratitude over the enormous debt our king has forgiven, we forgive our debtors. Receiving God’s gift of reconciliation enables us to give and receive reconciliation with those around us. In the end, God is the peacemaker. It is not simply “peace” that we pass to each other.

It is the peace of Christ, the peace of our peacemaker. Christ’s peace is never a cheap peace. It is never a peace that skims the surface or papers over the wrong that’s been done. It is not a peace that plays nicey-nice, denies hurt, or avoids conflict. It is never a peace that is insincere or ignores injustice. It’s a peace that is honest and hard-won, that speaks truth and seeks justice, that costs something, and that takes time. It is a peace that offers reconciliation.

Taken from Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. Copyright (c) 2016 by Tish Harrison Warren, p.175. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Peace Like a River

What do you suppose would happen if we paid attention to God’s commands? We don’t have to wonder, because He told us clearly: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, / your peace would have been like a river, / your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18). Consider the following applications as you imagine peace like a river.

1. A river is a moving stream of water. God’s Word does not say we’ll have peace like a pond. If we were honest, we might admit to thinking of peaceful people as boring. We might think, I’d rather forego peace and have an exciting life! When was the last time you saw white-water rapids? Few bodies of water are more exciting than rivers! We can have active, exciting lives without suffering through a life of turmoil. To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life’s journey. Peace is submission to a trustworthy Authority, not resignation from activity.

2. A river is a body of fresh water fed by springs or tributary streams. To experience peace, we must be feeding our relationship with God. I’ve found that I can’t retain peace in the present by relying on a relationship from the past. As a river is continually renewed with the moving waters of springs and streams, so our peace comes from an active, ongoing, obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace. This and other Bible studies are examples of ways God desires to feed a peaceful river in your soul.

3. A river begins and ends with a body of water. Every river has an upland source and an ultimate outlet or mouth. Rivers depend on and are always connected to other bodies of water. Likewise, peace like a river flows from a continuous connection with the upland Source, Jesus Christ, which is a timely reminder that this life will ultimately spill out into a glorious eternal life. The present life is not our destination, hallelujah! We who know Christ move over rocks and sometimes cliffs, through narrow places and wide valleys to a heavenly destination. Until then, abiding in Christ (John 15:4, KJV) is the key to staying deliberately connected with our upland Source.

    Take pleasure in knowing that God inspired His Word with great care and immaculate precision. He chose every word purposely. When He said we could have peace like a river in Isaiah 48:18, He wasn’t drawing a loose analogy. He meant it. What does it take to have this peace? Attention to God’s commands (by obedience) through the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God’s authority not only brings peace like a river but righteousness like the waves of the sea. Not righteous perfection. Righteous consistency.

    Beth Moore, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, B&H Books, 2007.

    Peace Takes Time

    In this short excerpt, noted Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas describes the integral link between peace and time:

    Peace takes time. Put even more strongly, peace creates time by its steadfast refusal to force the other to submit in the name of order. Peace is not a static state but an activity which requires constant attention and care. An activity by its very nature takes place over time.

    In fact, activity creates time, as we know how to characterize duration only by noting that we did this first, and then this second, and so on, until we’ve either gotten somewhere or accomplished this or that task. So peace is the process through which we make time our own rather than be determined by “events over which, it is alleged, we have no control.”

    Taken from Christian Existence Today: Essays on Church, World, and Living In Between, Brazos, pp.253-66.

    Scars Tell Beautiful Stories

    In their excellent book, Mending the Divides, Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart describe a Japanese Pottery tradition that articulates the power of peace and reconciliation:

    When we speak of peace, we can call to mind the ancient Japanese pottery tradition called Kintsugi. With this technique, a clay vessel is broken and then put back together, but not in its original form.

    Instead the restoration process involves the use of pure gold to mend the divides and heal the fissures. The broken vessel is put back together in such a way that it is stronger and more beautiful than before it was broken. In Kintsugi, the scars tell beautiful stories of healing and restoration rather than painful stories of destruction.

    Jon Huckins & Jer Swigart, Mending the Divides: Creative Love in a Conflicted World, InterVarsity Press.

    Thanking God for Places of Peace

    Think back over your life and try to remember a place where you felt safe and at peace, a time when you felt relaxed and okay. It could be an outdoor place—like on a beach or sitting in a tree. Maybe it’s an indoor place like a quiet reading chair or a kitchen table.

    Close your eyes and remember this place as completely as you can. Imagine yourself being there, noticing the sights, sounds, feels, smells, tastes. Notice what it feels like in your body to be there. Spend a minute enjoying this place using your imagination. Notice what it feels like to be safe and at peace. Then take some time to thank God for this place, no matter how small or normal it might seem.

    Taken from Does God Really Like Me?: Discovering the God Who Wants to Be With Us  by Cyd and Geoff Holsclaw Copyright (c) 2020 by Cyd and Geoff Holsclaw. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

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    Reconciliation

    Righteousness

     Peacemaking

     Self-Control

     Teamwork

    Unity

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