Take Out – Shalom!

Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!" (Luke 2:13-14 GNB)

If you’ve not gone to the Tellus Science Museum, you really ought to go. If nothing else, you can see the progression of where we were 100 years ago compared to today. To look at a car made out of wood or consider the centuries it took for minerals to form leaves you in awe of how far we’ve come in so short a time…and yet longing for a time where things were simpler and moved at a slower pace even.

We’re a society of take out. We are on the go more than probably any generation in history. We’ve got to have it quicker, get there faster and have it done sooner than at anytime in civilization. Yet what has it done for our well-being? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t long for the days of out-houses and hand cranked engines. Can we get busier? Can we do more? And in the midst of it find the time and give attention to our homes?

When the angel declared “Peace on earth…,” an end to wars was only part of the idea. Peace comes from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom.’ Peace was never intended to be exclusively a reference to conflict or war. This is a very narrow of view. Shalom is BIG picture – peace is for our well-being. It relates to health, to the prosperity of a nation, relationships and working connection to governments.

But it is too easy to look at Shalom; at this idea in terms of material goods and items. It is always a religious term. Some may find that threatening but peace is grounded in the idea of blessings being from God. The prophets Micah (3:5), Jeremiah (28) and Ezekiel (13:16) all challenged a purely political peace because such peace ignores the failures, rebellion, the sins of people!

But shalom is never indicates an inward peace. Peace, like so many other things, is personal but not private. It is a social not an individual term.

When the angel shouts out, “Peace on earth…” it isn’t the “Peace out!” of pop culture which does little but offer the same promises that the prophets called out as false. Where is there peace in the political realm where our nation remains divided? Tell me, when has a movie or song brought about peace in our world? On every side peace is treated like some kind of tennis match or volleyball game as if you can spike peace down and claim a victory.

When the angel shouts out, “Peace on earth…” it is a statement – pointed and direct – Peace is tied to salvation. Peace is what God desires not just for the soul, not just for the church, not just for the USA, not just for Jerusalem, and not just for the human race but for the whole of creation. Peace is to be the normal state of things and peace is only in connection to Jesus Christ. (“…because God does not want us to be in disorder but in harmony and peace. As in all the churches of God's people, (1Co 14:33, GNB))

And it is Jesus who makes plain, to follow after him is to be more than just talk and more than just platitudes – but “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Mt. 5:9)

Organ grinders haven’t be around but many of us have seen pictures or cartoons of those guys who used to go around streets with a hand crank box that played music and a little monkey to collect money. One such entertainer had an especially clever monkey. On one occasion, when a big dog broke away from some children with whom it had been playing and made a dash for the monkey, the bystanders were surprised to see that the monkey did not seem in the least afraid. He stood perfectly still in evident curiosity, waiting for the dog to come up to him. This disconcerted the dog, for it would have much preferred to chase something that would run and not stand its ground. As soon as the dog reached the monkey, the funny little scarlet-coated creature courteously doffed its cap. Instantly there was a laugh from the audience. Its head drooped and its tail dropped between its legs. It looked like a whipped cur and not at all like the fine dog it really was. It turned and ran back home, and the laughing children could not persuade it to return. As for the monkey, he wanted no disagreement, and he knew instinctively that it took two to make a quarrel.

I have watched countless times this played out with cats and dogs. I know that my cat is more than content to leave this centuries old rivalry behind. One of our neighbor kids declared one day, that he “saved” our cat from getting bit by their dog. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, there was little chance that his chihuaha’s mouth was going to get past the claws of our cat. Tigger had alert said dog yards away that “peace” was in jeopardy by arching his back and hissing. Too often, dogs have pushed the limits.

In his second letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul wrote to, “Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help. But keep away from foolish and ignorant arguments; you know that they end up in quarrels. (2Ti 2:22-23)”

As families on the go, we’ve missed the signs and signals given by those closest to us. We rush by failing to look both ways and listen before crossing the street. We desire peace in our homes but fail to realize peace is first a gift of God in Jesus Christ and that it isn’t for us alone but for all around us. Whether it is in our immediate family, our extended family, or our human race family, we have received both the blessing and opportunity to be peacemakers.

May I Ask: Will you live it?
May I Suggest: As a family or for your family, take the FAMILY COVENANT FOR PEACE from now through Mother's Day:

Family Covenant For Peace

This covenant is in effect from ___________(beginning date) to ____________ (ending date).

We promise to:
1. Seek God’s presence in worship.
2. Love one another – loving the PERSON even when correcting BEHAVIORS.
3. Be truthful to all members of the family.
4. Listen to other family members and speak without yelling or blaming.
5. Spend time together eating, playing and praying as a family.
6. Seek ways to serve Crossroads and our community.
7. Avoid foolish arguments!

Signed by (all family members sign covenant):

For MP3 of sermon CLICK HERE!


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