I’ve been thinking a lot about “Peace” recently since some people I know jeered and laughed at the idea of “World Peace”. A couple days ago, I was driving and heard a song by one of my favorite bands (that most people have never heard of) The Subdudes. It was the song, One Word (Peace). And from that, this blog began to form in my mind.
I understand that we may never find “World Peace”. There are too many angry people in this world. There is sin in the world. There is greed. All of that makes complete peace just about impossible. But does that impossibility make it any less important for us to keep trying? I would say the presence of those things in the world makes it doubly important that we continue to work for peace. We may never find peace, but I can guarantee that if we don’t try, we never will.
Many great modern leaders have led their movements with the example of peace: Martin Luther King, Mahatmas Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela. They each understood that confrontation was inevitable, but that peace was the way to gain what they were looking for. Obviously, they had varying amounts of success, but they tried and never gave up.
A few weeks ago, the pastor at my church spoke about how strong Jesus was in the days leading up to his crucifixion and death. He said many people saw his actions of passiveness and acceptance as weakness. He could have called down the wrath of God on the people who hurt him, yet he accepted their torture for the greater good. He had a plan and he stuck to it. He didn’t hate the people around him.
Easter means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For Christians, it means the day Christ rose from the dead. It also happens to coincide with Passover (which probably says more about the calendar of the early Christian church than anything else). For others it means the day the Easter Bunny brings candy and presents. For a lot of people, it means both. I know many people have a problem with secular imagery on religious holidays, but I’ve never worried about that too much. If anything, kids today are smarter and savvier than we were. They know how to separate the two easily. I don’t think they forget one in exchange for the other.
I think we adults might forget the message of the day, however. Easter is the day that the Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for the world’s sins. Up to that point, Jews and Gentiles alike had to offer sacrifices to God for forgiveness–buying it in a sense. From Easter forward, the debt was paid. We just had to ask for forgiveness and to do our best to live like Jesus asked us to live. That meant forgiveness, love, peace and understanding. And that doesn’t mean love and understanding for the people who think like us, look like us, or act like us. It means for everyone.
I saw a joke the other day that said (in part):
Jesus: Love and forgive all of your neighbors
People: But what about the people who don’t agree with us?
Jesus: Did I stutter?
For me, Easter Sunday is ultimately about Peace. It represents the opportunity to be forgiven, to forgive, and to find peace and love.
Happy Easter. I hope you find Peace.