A reflection on peace during a time of war

by | Feb 28, 2022 | Faith, Writing and Reading | 2 comments |

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

It’s hard to think about peace while reading the headlines about war, I thought as Keith and I met with our small group last Thursday evening. How do we make sense of the world as Christians? Through prayer and scripture—and the words of others who have pondered the same question. Last week, we discussed Martin Luther’s two kingdoms doctrine as recorded in Article 28 of The Augsburg Confession in the Book of Concord.

The two kingdoms doctrine teaches that God is the ruler of the entire world—both temporal and spiritual—and that he rules in two ways: Law and Grace. The two kingdoms are separate, that is, the temporal kingdom has no authority in matters pertaining to the spiritual kingdom. God’s two regiments guides believers toward righteousness and restrains evil behavior, so even non-believers are obliged to keep outward peace. This law-gospel duality parallels Luther’s doctrine about people being both sinner and saint, a citizen in both kingdoms.

So where do we look for peace in the temporal world? To God then to our leaders, that they may be guided by His righteousness. And we look to Jesus for spiritual peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

As I think about peace and Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, I remember Kathy Escobar’s words, which I quoted in my winter solstice post from 2021.

“For me, one of the most compelling images of peace in chaos is a tree in a winter storm—harsh and cold winds whipping through, yet still rooted; battered, bruised, its branches starkly stripped of leaves but somehow still standing, planted into the earth, gathering an unexplainable strength from the Source. Surviving, enduring, living despite it all. Peace doesn’t mean our circumstances will change. Peace doesn’t mean our hearts are completely still and settled. Peace doesn’t mean we don’t still weep or wail or feel afraid. Peace means that in the middle of the storm we can be strengthened by God, by something bigger than us, by the comfort and presence of the Holy Spirit, the Prince of Peace—and that we can be rooted, grounded, and tethered in the midst of chaos.”

As I wrote in this post about Paul Zahl’s Peace in the Last Third of Life, peace and hope come from healing wounds, personal and historical, present and past. The wounds from last century were not healed, and thus we are repeating history in the present. And what is there to do? Pray for peace, both temporal and spiritual.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

I leave you with this image of hope and part of Ann Voskamp’s reflection on Lent

“War can drive us all into the wilderness. Missiles drop, and we drop to our knees. We are a world wildly looking for a way out, we’re a hurting world desperately fleeing… Pain carries us to prayer, and our years of collective loss howl in a long lament.”

Lent, a time to remember the love of God poured out through His Son. A time to remember temporal death and eternal life. A time of wilderness wandering, war, and ultimate peace.

Voskamp: “And this year, on the brink of Lent, as the world is on the brink of all-out-war, there is this heavy sense that we are all wandering in a wilderness. And we are all dog-tired of the relentless desert. This year, we need a Lent that lends a Word of HOPE.”

Peace be with you. God’s Peace.

2 Comments

  1. Jen

    I think “tethered in the midst of chaos” is a beautiful representation of life right now. Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Yes, Kathy Escobar’s words are apropos for now. Thank you for your comment. -C.D.

      Reply

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