Peace be with you?

Peace be with you
How many of us spend nights awake worrying, wondering what if?

I know I have many times, but does it help?  No. 

There a different views about peace. 

Lets look at three.

The first one is War and peace.  

Around the world there is conflict.  People fighting wars – people who think that their way of life is right.  Children, adults, men and women, innocent people are being killed or injured. Belgium was hit recently by terrorists – a small number of people

This is why every Sunday we pray for peace and pray for all those who are affected by war and all those innocent people who are fleeing for their lives. 
We are very lucky in this country as we aren’t at war; actually that statement isn’t exactly true - as we are at war with the terrorists that threaten our way of life and kill innocent civilians. 

Martin Luther King Junior once said, ‘Peace is more than the absence of war.’
Peace is more than the absence of war.

Peace and Quiet is our second kind of peace.

We live in a world of twenty four hour noise.. Television programmes play thoughout the night, radio is 24 hours, you can go to some cities that never ever sleep…

In a busy world, even within a family there is still no peace and quiet. 

A great book that illustrates this is Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy.

There are many people who go on retreat to find that peace and quiet.  Some people meditate to shut out the noise of the world and inner thoughts.

Although even when there is absolutely no noise, when it is very quiet if you are worried or stressed there is still no peace.

The third Peace is God’s Peace.

At the top of this postI mentioned that many people lie awake at night wondering what if?  There is a poem to help illustrate this called ‘what if’.
There are lots of things that stop us feeling peace inside.  

Whatif!! By Shel Silverstein

Last night while I lay thing here.
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear and prance and partied all night long and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
What if they’ve close the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I flunk the test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
What if my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seem swell, and then the night time Whatifs strike again!

Inside every single one of us are what if’s; children and adults alike, but it is how we deal with them that is important.

Even the disciples had what if’s, and Jesus knew that, which is why he offered them his peace. 

Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
Jesus knew all about the disciples anxieties, it was an amazing situation.   Someone they knew, in fact some of them saw die in a cruel, violent way, was there in front of them. 
Jesus offered them peace, a peace beyond understanding, it’s a peace that we get when we think we shouldn’t be feeling peace.
Our stomachs are where we feel anxious or stressed, we sometimes call it butterflies.  It becomes tight, we often can’t eat, or we feel sick. 
When we feel like that, Jesus offers us a peace, a sense of calm amidst the storm.

Jesus wants everyone to know this sense of calm, peace and joy in their lives.  He knows there were lots and lots of people going around worried and lost, with no peace inside them.  
Jesus came to knock down the barrier between us and God so that we would be able to feel a deep peace which is beyond understand.  More than peace without war, more than peace and quiet, but a peace that we can feel.

A peace that is different from every other kind of peace. 
It’s unlike the peace which comes when there is no war.
It’s unlike the peace which comes when there is no noise.
God gives us peace in the midst of our problems. 

I have a couple of prayers that the children might like to illustrate*:

Lord lead us from business to calm,                                                   
Lead us from Hate to Love,                                                             
From war to peace,                                                                             
Let peace fill our hearts,                                                                    
Our world our universe. Amen
Peace to the nations east and west,                                                   
Peace to our neighbours family and friends,                                             Peace to all women peace to all men,                                                     
Peace to all children.

A really good song one that I have suggested before:

Shalom my friend.

Shalom which actually means a peace that passes all understanding. God’s peace, the peace that Jesus offers us as he offers his disciples.
Stand the children in a circle and sing Shalom.
Then why not share the peace with one another, like we do during a communion service.
and the leader says:

My peace I give to you my peace I leave with you
The peace of the Lord be always be with you
and also with you
(Let us offer one another a sign of God’s peace)

Here is a useful colouring page.

May God’s peace surround you.. wherever you go and whatever you do. 


*source unknown

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