Peace is not the absence of war

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield
Sunday 6th December, 2020

Holy Trinity Huddersfield, taken from Mountjoy Road.

It has been a week of wind, cold, rain and even snow, which landed as slush round here. The most eventful thing for me was giving a blood sample for my diabetes as the results from three months ago had come back borderline. Also my wife has announced she has finished the Christmas present shopping. Today, after the service, we picked up the Christingles from the back of church and saw some of the congregation we have not seen in the flesh for a while. Typical of my autistic personality it felt both good and awkward at the same time. I struggle sometimes with unexpected social situations.

Youth minister Wayne opened the service in his Christmas jumper. He loves Christmas. The second candle on the Advent wreath, this week’s theme was peace. Shalom, the Hebrew word of peace, means “peace unto you.”

Then a song, with a crib scene and a string of lights behind the musicians, The chorus went, “Even so come, Lord Jesus come.”

News. Rev Mike (Wayne had called him that earlier in the service) announced with a video that someone new was coming. That was Simon on video with his wife Emma, married last September and Theology students in Durham. The look on Emma’s face when marriage was mentioned showed that their relationship is still at the infatuation stage, it was sweet.. Simon is starting a curacy with us in July next year. Emma will also be doing a curacy at Kirkheaton and Grange Moor, so we will not be seeing a lot of her.

Another video. Peace is not just the absence of war but the presence of something. Shalom is the perfect or the whole and means wellbeing, working together for mutual benefit.

The reading was from John 14:23-29. Please read it before continuing.

Mike also preached. He gave a content warning that if there are children present to get them to leave if you are watching live or fast forward through the first five minutes. Mike was in Bosnia last year, Sarajevo was beautiful, rebuilt after being under siege for 4 years, though there are places everywhere showing bullet holes and other remnants of the siege. They then went to Srebrenica, to the compound where thousands taking refuge were massacred.

Now there is no war but also no peace. There is no fighting but there is still division, ethnic hatred and no reconciliation. It was like living in a house where the foundations have subsided and with large cracks in the wall, bur all the builders have done is wallpapered over the cracks.

It is the same over here. Brexit has not caused division in the UK but it has exposed divisions which were already there. Sexual intolerance has been exposed in the me too movement. and racism in the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in the USA. People suffer physical and mental health problems because of intolerance.

When Jesus came Shalom came. The bible says about Jesus:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 7:6 NIV UK

Jesus came to impose his peace upon the world. “Don’t be afraid,” said the angels to the shepherds, and a whole host of angels sang:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’

Luke 2:14

Our work is continuing the work of Jesus, restoring the fractured union between man and God. What Jesus offers and world offers are different things. The world, in the Bible, can mean the actual world and its people or a place of darkness.

Jesus can, within the darkness of the world we live in, bring peace in our homes and relationships and peace with God. Self help and yoga will not bring what Jesus offers. Peace is a possession of all who belong to Jesus.

We cannot get our heads around inner peace in a world of turmoil. but we have a part of sharing gods peace on earth and usher in God’s kingdom of peace.

Isaiah spoke about a secret. Emmanuel, which means God has come to live with us. But Jesus was not the king they expected.

Do you know the peace that is beyond understanding that comes from Jesus the Prince of Peace? If not ask him to come and invade your life with his gentle peace. Come Holy Spirit.

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