Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Peace Is More Than the Absence of War

I just had to get in another picture of my Topsail Island! My wife and I just vegged there for two weeks this year. I know, decadent you say? Yeah, but I had to go. You see, my father owns it! My heavenly Father that is.

When I see this picture I remember my dear friend, Father Ray Allen, who was the rector of a Jesuit Monastery. He once invited me to come for a silent retreat! A Silent what? Are you crazy? You do what - for a whole week! No way man! You've gotta be out of your mind!

But I went, kicking and screaming! My God, what exquisite agony it was. I admit that I barely endured the first few days but then something totally unexpected happened. Something magnificent. I discovered a peace within me that was deep and mighty. It seemed to spring up and flow out from somewhere deep within the recesses of my soul. It was one of those 'take my breath away' moments. I was bathed in a holy hush! I dared not speak. It was an experience too precious and much too beautiful for words. It was more than just a "peace" - it was a force. Since that experience I find that I almost crave silence. I've got to have it! I just can't get enough.

We live in an awfully noisy culture in an awfully noisy world. Sometimes it seems to me that we almost fear silence. We avoid it like the plague. Everywhere you go there is 'background muzak' - I call it background noise! It seems we are bombarded 24/7 and I must admit that we Christians are an awfully noisy bunch as well. Silence seems to have little or no place in our modern lives or even in our modern worship.

Before my "retreat" experience I thought of silence as the 'absence of noise' and 'peace' as just 'the absence of turmoil'. But now I know better and when I view this photograph of Topsail, I stop and I remember that retreat from the modern world of noise and then I recall the words of our Lord when He said:

"All this I have spoken while still with you.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,

He will teach all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

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..."

And then, I remember the lines of an old spiritual

I've got peace like a river.

I've got peace like a river.

I've got peace like a river in my soul .


Be careful for nothing;

but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,

shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


1 comment:

  1. After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. ECCLESIASTES 12:13 TEV


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