Author: John Bisceglia
For the first forty years of my life, I was a “peace lover.” This was because of all the conflict in my family and then, in my 20s and 30s, my interpersonal struggles of being one thing while trying to look like something else. This consisted of avoiding any and all conflicts to prevent the knots in my guts and the mental anguish in my head. I just wanted everyone to get along and never raise their voice or lift their hand in anger. A veneer of calm was all I wanted.
At the age of 40, after my divorce, my heart disease, and finding a new church, among many other things, I was able to reexamine some of my core beliefs.
In the gospel of Matthew 5:9, it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Here, we see not the love of peace but instead the active pursuit of peace. I work with what energy and skill I have to actively seek peace. There are many examples of this in our community, and we can grow from their examples as well as our own work.
As I was turning 62 a few weeks ago, the Bible study group was studying a very familiar passage to me, but I saw it in a new light. Philippians 4: 6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” A third peace, but this one surpasses all comprehension. It exists in the form of God, whatever form that takes for you, but it can and does give me comfort and “peace,” whether in a hospital bed as a patient, laughing in a church service, crying with those in pain or suffering loss, or in the joy of new birth, and many others …
God help us to understand all the forms of peace, and most of all help us to be at peace when day is done. Amen.