From Peace-Breaker to Peace-Maker – Week of August 9, 2021
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called.
You’re on a neighborhood walk. Maddie has managed to stay upright the whole time-no trips today!-and your partnering of the students seems to be working out well. But then, Alex finds a bit of dandelion fluff and throws it in Ava’s hair. Just like that, the peace is broken!
Bond of peace. Last week, we spent some time looking at how we belong. We rejoiced in knowing our status as a stone built on Jesus! Now we get a chance to pay a little more attention to the stones around us. Paul reminds us, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” That unity of the Spirit is the bond we all share as Christians, the great equalizer that reminds us we are all part of a family, only through the Spirit’s work, which brought us to faith in Jesus.
Isn’t it difficult, though, to keep the bond of peace? Our sinful natures want nothing more than to break the bond of peace at every turn! Our little ones show us this every day. But our own hearts also convict us as we think of the times when we’ve said a word that has built us up, only by tearing another down. So often we use words and actions to put up walls between fellow stones in God’s building, causing strife and division where God asks for peace to reign.
Is there any hope? In Jesus, there is. In the waters of baptism, in the words about Jesus, the Holy Spirit created faith in our hearts and changed our hearts from ones that desired only peace-breaking, to hearts that now seek after peace-making, always modeled after the ultimate Peace-Maker, Jesus. With Jesus’ sacrificial love on the cross in view, we can look at our fellow stones, and love them, knowing Jesus loved them first. With Jesus’ help, we can fight back the words that threaten to cause disunity and strife and can instead speak words that help to build each other up as fellow members of his kingdom. These words about Jesus are what will change the hearts of our little ones, too. As we share with our students what Jesus has done for them, we’ll see evidence of their faith growing, as they, too, work to be peace-makers with each other. None of us will do this perfectly here on earth, but with the Spirit’s help, we work at it each and every day, all the way until our ultimate peace is fully realized in heaven!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, by your death on the cross, you created peace between sinners and your perfect Father in heaven. At our baptisms, this peace became ours. As we live and work with others in a world that strives against peace and harmony, help us to be people who share your peace at every turn. Let our words and actions build others up and keep strife and division far from us. In your name we ask this. Amen.
A Question to Consider:Consider privately a person with whom it is easy for you to break the bond of peace. How and when can you meditate on the Scripture above in the following weeks to be renewed in your desire to live at peace with those around you, for Jesus’ sake?