Over the last few years, we have gone from one crisis to another haven’t we…..global warming, political instability, the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine (and war in many other places) and now we are experiencing financial instability and a cost of living crisis. It’s all very stressful isn’t it, and I don’t know about you, but I would just love to see us return to a stable period of peace in all its senses.
As we look around for solutions for our world it is easy to focus on ‘outward things’ for example such as better education, health care, economics and leadership/politics. Some of these things can be of great help, however Jesus taught that we need to look mostly ‘inwardly’ to our hearts as the root problem of all our issues.
This is what Jesus thought when once speaking with some pharisees and teachers of the law, the religious leaders of his day: “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7v14-23
As someone once summed up Jesus’ teaching…“The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart.”
At this time of Remembrance, we reflect don’t we on what the problem of human heart has done and still does to the world in terms of war and other aspects of life ‘where there is no peace’. We reflect on how we might see more peace in our world, but how? Jesus says we must first find peace in our hearts through if we are to find a lasting peace with God, with ourselves and with others.
So, at this time of Remembrance, as we remember all those who have fought for peace, and still to this day have to fight to bring peace, it would be good to reflect on God from whom peace if offered and comes as these bible verse say and which if we pray them for ourselves will bring us peace in heart:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” Isaiah 52:7
With my prayers for peace this Remembrance
Revd James Hunt – Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary Upham
4th November 2022