Summary: This is an advent sermon.
THE GIFT OF PEACE
I was attending Acadia University at a very scary time in the world.
It was the time of the Gulf crisis.
We gradually watched as the forces were compiled on the desert bases. Then one evening, as some of my friends were making snowmen down at the School, I took the news down to them that Desert Shield had now become Desert Storm.
The attack by the coalition of U.N. countries, of which Canada was included had started.
For days we watched on television as hundreds of missiles carrying their deadly cargo hit many of their marks.
We watched as Iraq sent missiles against Israel.
I remember visiting a man in the hospital.
He didn’t know whether to be more afraid of his cancer, or the son he had at the desert.
Then there is the racial cleansing in Kosovo.
The incidents of violence in Northern Ireland.
In this century we have seen two world wars, Viet nan, Korea, the Falklands, just to mention a few of the conflicts that we have seen.
Our attempts at peace and freedom through war cost over 120,000,000 lives and literally billions of dollars.
I’m reminded of A little girl once wrote an answer to a question in an examination: "Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, and since then we have had two minutes of peace each year.
As I was walking back to the residence I saw a sign hanging from one of the windows that really discribed the feeling of the day.
It read "Peace, through superior fire power"
This is not a new thought at all.
It was the basis of the cold war, between Russia and the United States.
It was felt that the only way to keep each country in check was to have as many, if not more, nuclear missiles than the other country had.
In fact at one time, there were enough nuclear missiles stockpiled to destroy the world some twenty-three times over.
Huge amounts of each country’s national budgets went into defense while living conditions were allowed to tumble.
And this all in the search for peace.
Now I am not saying peace at any cost.
There are times when it is necessary to fight, in defense of our homeland, and families for example.
It was John Foster Dulles who said:
The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith.
In recent years violent crime in North America has sky-rocketed.
Many places you can’t walk the streets at night.
I went to Chicago with a friend in 1986 and he was afraid to ride the Subway.
He told me that any time I went out to always carry fifteen dollars to pay the muggers.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that while on the subway I had over seven Hundred dollars with me.
You couldn’t do anything to make you stand out as a tourist, for they were easy prey.
The peace that the world searches for is not found in patriotism.
The peace that the world seeks is a deeper peace that can be found in a document or paper.
The peace that the world seeks is not a man-made peace that can be broken.
It is the peace of Christ in their lives.
It is the peace of Philippians "That passes all understanding" that we desire.
It is that peace that we must make preparations for as we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace at Advent.
Part of our preparation for this peace is the recognition that we are sinners, and have alienated ourselves from God, on a daily basis.
To recognize that state that we were in, and the change that has happened in our lives because of Christ, brings about a realization of that peace.
It was John J. Zier who stated:
No man enjoys the serene calm of inner peace unless he has first known the harassing moments of a disquieted soul.
The soul that is under conviction is the soul that will be lead to inner peace.
A number of years ago I had an ultserated tooth.
If any of you ever dealt with one you know that it gives almost unbearable pain.
I finally got a dental appointment and had the tooth pulled.
The peace that came to me as a result of that extraction was so good.
Some of you suffer with migraine headaches.
I do as well.
The feeling of peace and relaxation that comes just after one is over is intensified by the severity of the headache.
The more it hurts the better you feel after.
I don’t advocate either as a way of gaining peace, nor am I saying that we should sin more, so that we can be convicted and receive the peace of forgiveness.