Summary: A radio message designed to encourage believers to rejoice in the peace Christ offers those who walk with Him. The world defines "peace" in a manner that is unattainable. Christ offers peace that is the heritage of each person who knows Him as Master over life.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” [JOHN 14:27]. [1]

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Many will recognise this quote as the opening words of the Charles Dickens story, “A Tale of Two Cities.” Unsurprisingly, the words could easily be a description of our own situation today.

The world as we knew it has been changed—perhaps forever. Our world has been rocked by the Coronavirus pandemic. In our province, uncertainty seems to prevail. People are uncertain how to respond to the new challenges. We are being urged to “shelter in place,” and urged to practise “social distancing.” Social distancing is a concept which definitely requires considerable refinement before it can be applied to Christians. Followers of the Christ who are walking with the Lord Jesus would never isolate themselves socially. Perhaps a better term to be used by the people of God is to speak of physical distancing as a protective measure. We recognise the potential for communicating a disease, but we love one another deeply from the heart. Therefore, we cannot isolate ourselves or allow our brothers and sisters to be isolated. Governments are advising the populace to avoid exposing yourself to others in an attempt to suppress this strange, new virus. The concept appears to be to “flatten the curve,” allowing for a controlled spread of the disease to avoid overwhelming medical facilities.

My purpose in this message is not to dispense medical advice; there are a sufficient number of sites available online that provide the most accurate possible advice on how to lower the risk of exposing oneself to the virus and what one should do if he or she suspects they have contracted the virus. [2] Perhaps it is too much to ask in an age characterised by an emphasis on self-centred behaviour, but the steps for avoiding exposure to infection actually do consist of common sense practises. The rules for avoiding exposure demands that we override our desire to do what we want to do, and instead, make certain that we are considerate of others who are perhaps more vulnerable.

Practising church as we did before this crisis may not be possible for a long time. This current panic can serve as a reminder that the church is not brick and mortar; rather, the church is the people whom God has gathered to worship and to serve. Though we are not always able to gather in one place, we can ensure that we emulate the first disciples who were united in heart and mind. These first followers of the Risen Christ were committed to one another and to the Lord Jesus. They devoted themselves to worship and to prayer. They were said to be “of one heart and soul” [see ACTS 4:32]. We can ensure that Christ is revealed through our attitude and through our love for each other.

We actually don’t know if we will be able to gather on the day set aside to celebrate the resurrection of Christ the Lord, but we can ensure that our hearts are filled with His joy. We can worship, even if we are unable to gather as we did before this present crisis. While the world struggles to regain a semblance of normalcy, we who know Christ as Master over life can reveal the peace that comes from knowing Him. The world trembles in the face of uncertainty, but the one who knows Christ the Lord can reveal His peace by how they live during these uncertain times.

As He prepared His disciples for His Passion and for the fact that He would soon be leaving this world, Jesus encouraged those disciples by giving them a rich promise. That promise that the Master delivered to His disciples so many centuries past is a promise that has been seized upon and employed in the lives of His people since that day. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” [JOHN 14:27].

THE WORLD’S PEACE — “Peace I leave with you… Not as the world gives do I give to you” [JOHN 14:27]. Earth dwellers do seek peace, but somehow those living in the world never find what they are looking for. As the Master was teaching the disciples what would at last come upon the earth, you may remember that He cautioned them, and us, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world” [LUKE 21:25-26a].

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