Summary: A sermon for World Peace Day.
Peace, perfect peace.
“Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, No religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
About twenty or twenty five years ago, this song was released to a world that had hardly known peace since it was created. In the last 4,000 years, it is reckoned that there has only been 268 years without a war. In the same length of time, 8,000 peace treaties have been made and broken. The song became Number 1 in the pop charts of all the countries it was released in and the writer was seen as a visionary, somebody who was courageous for even being willing to suggest that there could be a world like this. He was of course, John Lennon.
Today is World Peace Day, there will be prayers going up in Methodist Churches across the country, and in many other denominational Churches as well, all for this dream of World Peace. But what exactly are we praying for? You have heard the second verse of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’; do you remember the first? Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.”
Is this really what we want when we pray for World Peace? A world without a heaven and without a God? This is what many people are asking for. I have been looking in the library and on the Internet in the last two weeks for articles on World Peace. I found many of them, but I have not found the name Jesus Christ connected to one of them. There have been many prayers for peace that I have read, Moslem prayers, Hindu prayers, even Christian prayers, but again, no prayers mentioning Christ’s name.
There are many groups that are working for this dream of world peace; one of the largest is called the ‘International Religious Federation for World peace’. This group has representatives from all of the major religions on its Governing Board, including most of the Christian denominations. I read through some of the notes of meetings, and some of the papers they have produced. Guess whose name is missing from the majority if not all of their work – Jesus Christ! Mind you, when you discover who founded this group, it is not surprising. It was started in 1991 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon – founder of the Unification church or the cult of Moonies, as they are more commonly known.
What did our Lord say about world peace, did he suggest it was something we should be working for and praying for? According to Matthew Chapter 10:34, he said this:
“`You must not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Did Jesus say that we should expect world peace? Listen to his words from Matthew 24:6:
“The time is coming when you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed. Such things are bound to happen; but the end is still to come. For nation will go to war against nation, kingdom against kingdom, there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. All these things are the first birth-pangs of the new age.” It does not sound much like a promise of peace to me.
But surely, when Jesus was born, that angels promised “peace on earth and goodwill to all men”. It is only a couple more months before we will be singing those words again. “All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace. Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men, begin and never cease.” Wonderful words, but the angels never spoke those words. If you look in your Bibles at Luke 2:14, you will discover that peace is only promised to those who please God. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom his favour rests. My NIV Study Bible states clearly that peace is not assured to all, but only to those who are pleasing to God.
World peace is a myth, for it ignores the One who is King of Peace. It ignores the one who died on the cross to bring us peace with God. Peace without the cross is not a peace that is worth our breath or our time in praying for. Look at the world at the moment, everyone is joining in this war against terrorism, and everybody believes that this will bring peace to the world. When are we going to learn that this is not going to happen? Yes, you can kill terrorists, but that will not defeat hatred and terrorism – all it will do is persuade more people to join the cause. That is what has happened in Palestine, Ireland and many other places throughout history. Once again, the world is working for peace without looking for the only person who can give it.