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Surpassing Peace

October 10, 2020

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

The lectionary has been leading us through Philippians for several weeks. We will hear our last portion of this joyful letter tomorrow morning. It is remarkable how Paul could remain so centered in joy while writing this letter even though he was imprisoned at the time. The key to his joy was peace.

I conclude my sermons with this verse as a blessing. I always have, though I don’t quite remember why. I begin my sermons the same way each week, too, with different words from Paul: “Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” I think that the pastors of my childhood must have begun and ended sermons in this way. It sunk in from somewhere. It’s always seemed right to bracket my words with the words of scripture as greeting and benediction.

The peace of which Paul writes is not the absence of conflict or activity. It is itself an active thing, surpassing everything around it. When the peace of God bursts in, it quiets all else. In this world that is very not peaceful, God’s peace is the only thing that will guard our hearts and minds. Within this peace, we can find the joy that would otherwise remain elusive. Whatever else is going on today, may God’s peace guard you and give you joy.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of peace, you send forth your Word and it speaks stillness and rest. May your peace break into the violence and unsettledness of our world. As you guard us, let us be joyful peacemakers today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: A picture of peace from this summer. Sunset over Lake Michigan, July 3.

From → COVID-19

One Comment
  1. LaNell Mahler Koenig permalink

    I like your words of “may God’s peace guard you…” That idea gives me peace when I feel I am being bombarded by not so peaceful things. Thank you.

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