Peace appears in the strangest of places
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. — Luke 2:8–11 (NRSV)
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. — Matthew 4:8–11 (NRSV)
How desperately the children of the world need peace. We wander looking for peace, yet God proclaims peace in the strangest places. It isn’t heard from brass bands or symphonies, or seen in military parades, stock market exchanges or super bowls, but rather among the silence of shepherds on a cold mountain top as we heard a few months ago in Luke’s telling of the nativity story. And then we have the Lenten Scripture that reminds us in the moments when we need it the most — in our desert suffering — peace comes. We are not left alone. The peace of healing appears just as it did with the angel tending to a tempted and tried — and victorious — Jesus.
A friend described visiting a refugee camp in the Middle East, full of people desperately seeking food as famine ravaged their country. And with all those people, especially young babies and children, there was no crying. There was the silence of hunger. As we seek peace, maybe we should try to center ourselves in silence. The noise of war, the noise of political demonstrations in the streets and the noise of political rallies can distract from the deep needs around us. We should pay attention to the quiet suffering and hear the angels tell us where God’s peace is needed in the world.
In this time of Lent, Lord God, help us hear the proclamation of peace among your beloved children. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Shalom: The Way to the Promise of Peace
Written by Catherine Gordon