A Peace Unbreakable

Years ago, I spent a period of time reading Scripture in Spanish. One day I was reading in John and came across this oh-so-familiar verse (14:27) “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it.” In Spanish however this verse said, “My peace I give to you, the peace I give is not fragile like the peace of this world.” Wow! That really jumped off the page at me. The peace Jesus offers isn’t fragile. It doesn’t crush under pressure. It doesn’t shatter in the midst of chaos. It doesn’t bend to the world’s standard, the world’s ideals, the world’s order.

This past week end the peace of our hometown “world” of Milwaukee shattered! The city was wracked with chaos, violence, and outbursts of rage. My heart ached as I saw burned-out buildings, destroyed bus stops, trash in the streets, and angry, distrustful faces. One woman I spoke with expressed how this has been a long time in the making. The racial tension in Milwaukee, has certainly made the news before. It’s commonly acknowledged as one of the most segregated cities in America. She shared how the most recent altercation between a police officer and a young black felon had really just been the “final straw.” The fragile peace of “this world” had fallen to pieces.

Sunday after church our small fellowship of believers joined with other Christians across the city in gathering at the site of one burned-out gas station nearby. We gathered with many from the community who milled around, wondering what to do with the broken shards of an all-too-fragile peace. A mess that was beyond any of us, to be honest.
But in the middle of that gathering, we prayed, we listened, we shook hands, we smiled, we picked up trash, and the peace of Jesus, that is NOT fragile, was expressed in a million little gestures.

Can we bring peace into the chaos? Can we be instruments in healing a city broken, riddled with resentment, dogged with past offenses, bent on its own destruction? Only as we live out the peace that Jesus gives–unbreakable, unshakable, undeniable. This peace isn’t fragile because it’s not rooted in the temporal. It’s not bound by time. It’s not subject to the laws of this world. It is eternal. It is a peace that “passes understanding.” And it rules the heart and the minds of those who know Jesus. We are given this peace, and we are called to pass it on. How we do that in the midst of the world’s chaos, is the evidence that Jesus offers the only hope the only peace that will make any difference at all.

I am compelled to pray for peace–not just the end of violence and crime. But the kind of peace that Jesus gives.  People who are reconciled to God through Jesus’ sacrifice. Churches that express the light of Jesus in their love and generosity. A whole city that looks to him for help, that steps out of the shadows of shame, and into the light of His radiant joy. I know it sounds impossible. It is impossible. But I’m done praying for the possible. My God is the God of the impossible. He is the God of a peace that reigns outside of the scope of our understanding. So I’m praying and I invite you to join me! God’s peace can be expressed in Milwaukee. And God’s peace is the only thing that can bring hope to the lost, disillusioned, angry, and marginalized masses.

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