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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

12 August 2020: John Powell, Petersfield Methodist Church

Peace

I wonder what the word ‘peace’ brings to your mind? For millions in the world, who are living in countries or refugee camps where the effects of warfare dominate their lives, ‘peace’ is a distant dream. But for those of us living in the West, there has been an absence of overt warfare here for almost all of our lives.

For my parents’ generation, it was a very different story. Both of my parents lost a brother in the first world war, and then, less than two decades later, they were caught up in the second war. In contrast, I have lived my life, now in my eighties, with only hazy memories of what war was like. I can just remember standing in the back garden of our Surrey home watching overhead at a spitfire shooting at a passing V1, or doodlebug as they were called.

I don’t think today’s Health and Safety culture would approve! Yet for the past seven decades, there has been an absence of large large-scale hostilities around us, though the armed forces are sadly never unemployed. But is this real peace?

Margaret, my late wife, often reminded me that in the Welsh language, there are two distinct words for peace. One means the absence of warfare, while the other refers to a deep, inward, peace. I guess most of us have peace of the first kind in our lives, but do we have peace of the second kind?

The Lord Jesus offers us real, inner, peace, if we will trust Him and accept His offer. In John’s Gospel, chapter 14, we hear Jesus saying to His followers “Peace I live with you; My peace I give to you; do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid”. To me, an amazing thing about this promise was its timing. Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem, knowingly facing betrayal, mock justice, and crucifixion. Yet He is at peace within, and He offers this peace to those around Him. Amazing!

This covid pandemic is not an easy time for any of us. Its effects permeate out lives, and we know that it is just not going away any time soon. Jesus asks us not to be troubled or afraid, but to trust Him as our Lord and Saviour, and He will give us His Peace, peace that is beyond anything the world can offer. Will you accept His offer?

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