God is a God of Peace

24th October 2023

I don’t know about you and how you feel about armed conflict in the world. We’re now seeing powerful images of the conflict between Israel and Palestine (Hamas) and hearing the narrative which accompanies
them from the media. I feel a whole number of things; confusion, sadness, hopelessness, powerlessness among them. Naturally our hearts are pained at the impact of the violence towards civilians, the individuals and families trying to live life. I can’t imagine what its like to have my family in the midst of such conflict, let alone be in one of these conflict zones. Can you?

The current conflict seems to have overshadowed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the media. So too the many other conflicts around the world. Life conflicts are all around us and last Sunday my message was entitled “Stand Firm in the Lord”. We heard from Paul his desire to reconcile two women in the church who had fallen out. In my work I experience many families who are sadly estranged and it feels important to encourage some form of reconciliation. Where there is conflict or misunderstanding between people there is emotional cost and wounding. And one party has to take the initiative to contact the other, otherwise there’s continuing hostility and pain. Pain that drains and is in the way of a more fulfilled life.

As Christians, let’s try to follow Paul’s encouragement:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
As Christians, let us be those who take initiative and model good relationships.

Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer – which focuses our lives on God’s Kingdom of which He is King.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are your now and forever. Amen

Let us also pray for those we know who have difficulty in relationship with others – that they find reconciliation and peace.

Let us pray for the governments and world leaders to seek peace and reconciliation (and be drawn to God who is a God of love and of peace and of reconciliation).

And let us pray for ourselves that we may be peacemakers and those who model and encourage reconciliation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Revd Dave Mapes