Live peace, have peace, to be at peace
Every Sunday as we gather at the Divine Liturgy, the Soorp Badarak, no less than a dozen times do we hear the word and call for Peace. From the day after the Great Flood, God called for Peace and the Dove came bearing an Olive branch which is the symbol of peace. Later God came to Moses and revealed himself in The Burning Bush, and then finally He came to us; was born in Jesus Christ. And, the Angels sang Peace on Earth to men of Good Will.
Christ taught about Peace in his earthly ministry. Saying to the Apostles "I am leaving you with a gift--'peace'. Yet, we might what ask what kind of Peace did He mean?
Jesus said the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. It is Peace of mind and heart. So don't be troubled or be afraid.
Our Lord assures us that it comes freely, and will come especially when our hearts and minds are open to be changed from doubt to belief, from evil to good, from hate to love.
At our Baptism Peace was born in you and in me. The Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel tells us, God will take out of us a Heart of Stone and give us a Heart of flesh.; to bring Peace into all of life. This is our mission as children of God.
What Jesus said in His well known Sermon on the Mount, He says to us still today. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God - people of GOOD WILL' which Heaven's Angels sang about the night Christ God was born on earth.
Yet, the reality is, that not everyone has Good Will, and not everyone has a heart of flesh. There are still many stony, hard hearts to be converted.
In this fallen world there have been and still are wars, persecutions both globally and in our own country; shootings, racial animosities, hatred and bigotry of class, color, gender. These certainly do not come from Good Will as we say in Armenian Hajootiun.
They are from the Evil one and not from God. The evil one who is tearing us apart at the seams from the Love God. Let us never forget that our Christian Faith tells us that God came to make this earth into heaven as we pray during the Badarak; bringing peace; peace to be eternal, an ideal of perfection for us to pursue. And how it comes is through His presence in each of us.
The moral decay of our less than peaceful world, the unrest in the social order of life everywhere, indicates that for some reason, hard hearts, hard heads, closed minds, fear, judgment, distrust and the lack of LOVE in the hearts of humanity prevent the breath of God, His Holy Spirit to bring peace. Leaders travel to find it, sit round tables to discuss it. But, that is not the way God planned for it to be.
We need to seek peace not as this world does, with contracts, written agreements and accords, or discussions and explanations about it, rather with vigilant prayer; asking for the presence of God to come into us so that Peace, true Peace is Born.
We have to think about it, demonstrate it and live it. Where there are wrongs, we have to boldly and bravely snuff it out at whatever costs. Then and only then The Peace of Heaven will be rooted on earth.
Peace comes when God is present in life. During the Liturgy we hear that gift given to us, +Peace be unto you all. Khaghaootiun Amenetzoon. These words of Jesus are a Gift of His Peace, from of heaven to us on earth.
We even show Peace with a kiss, an embrace or a handshake, so that we LIVE PEACE, HAVE PEACE to BE AT PEACE and finally make His Peace, alive and real.
As a well known Christian hymn begins with the words Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with you and me, sing them daily and roadways to heaven will open to us, inviting the Gift of Peace from heaven to be alive on earth. And, it will come, transforming us all to be people of Goodwill
We end with a well-known prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.
"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."