Peace Today (23-02-22)
Bible Reading: Psalms 85:7-13
Show us your constant love, O Lord, and give us your saving help.
I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
he promises peace to us, his own people, if we do not go back to our foolish ways.
Surely he is ready to save those who honour him,
and his saving presence will remain in our land.
Love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will embrace.
Faithfulness will reach up from the earth, and God's righteousness will look down from heaven.
The Lord will make us prosperous, and our land will produce rich harvests.
Righteousness will go before the Lord and prepare the path for him.
The vows that a couple makes at the wedding service are mutual, they both promise each other the same things, to love, comfort, honour and protect, and to share all things. But mutual doesn’t necessarily mean they both do everything the same. In some households there what are called ‘Blue Jobs’ (his), and ‘Pink Jobs’ (hers). This might cover things like who puts the bins out, who cleans the car, who does the hoovering, who does the ironing, who mows the lawn. These arrangements will vary from couple to couple and may indeed change over time, but such distinctions, subconscious or negotiated, underpin most relationships.
When we become Christians we enter into a similar sort of contract; God promises to do some things and we promise to do others. We are in a relationship and that relationship thrives on mutual commitment.
We see examples of this in today’s psalm. God promises peace, and we keep away from our foolish ways. God saves us and we honour him. Love, it says, goes hand-in-hand with faithfulness, both for us and for God, and righteousness will lead to peace.
The same sort of understandings also undergird international relationships. We all yearn for peace in our nation and for peace around the world, but peace comes, according to the psalmist, when we stay away from our foolish ways and when we seek after righteousness.
When events don’t go according to how we perceive God's love, let us not question God's love. Let us instead question the events themselves and let us pray that world leaders will step away from their foolish ways, and that they step towards righteousness, so that we might all live in peace.
The one thing, it seems, that does not depend on our mutual agreement is God's love. That, we are told, is constant, it doesn’t depend on a response from us. God’s love for us is there, whatever else is going on around us.
Show us your constant love, O Lord, and give us your saving help,
that the world might live in freedom and in peace.
O Lord, the clouds are gathering