Monday, July 23, 2012

The Lord Is Peace {Names of God}

Judges 6:
Gideon is afraid. The angel of the LORD appears to him under the terebinth as he threshes wheat in a wine press, afraid of the Midianite raiders. When Gideon finally figures out who has been speaking with him, 11 verses after we do, he's afraid for his life. Who can see the angel of Yahweh face to face and live to tell the tale? (Never mind that this same angel has just given him marching orders.)

Gideon is afraid, and the angel speaks peace. Gideon raises an altar to praise the Lord. "The LORD is peace," he names it. Yahweh-Shalom. The Lord is peace: peace in the midst of marauders and impossible tasks; peace that calls Gideon to walk through fear and find God faithful.

Mark 4:35-41:
The disciples are afraid. The storm strikes so suddenly and fiercely that the waves swamp the boat. It was Jesus' idea to cross the lake, after all, but he lies sleeping in the stern when they need Him to bail. Despite their long-honed sailing skill, they panic. "Don't You care that we're perishing?"

Jesus speaks peace: peace to the wind, peace to the waves, rebuke to the disciples. They haven't figured out in four chapters what Mark told us in 1:1, that this Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God. All these miracles, all this teaching, and they still don't understand. (All His provision, all His Scriptures, two millennia of Christian witness, and am I any better?)

Jesus speaks peace to the storm, and the disciples are more afraid than ever, because they don't understand who Jesus is.

As to this Jesus, "He Himself is our peace," Paul writes to the Ephesian believers (Eph. 2:14). Peter proclaims to the Gentile soldier Cornelius "the good news of peace through Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:36).

These are troubled times. The news in the headlines is anything but good. Still, the word of the Lord stands. The LORD is peace. Jesus Himself is peace to His people. The apostolic witness in the Scriptures proclaims good news of peace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the God-Man (Acts 10:34-43).

Let's press through fear, my sisters and brothers, and raise our own altar of praise and thanksgiving, proclaiming to the world that even now, even here, The Lord Is Peace.

Thanks be to God for His good gifts (#6864-93):

His Word, living and written
Reading through the Bible year by year
New connections among familiar passages, always more to learn
The Holy Spirit's unfolding of Your words to give understanding to the simple
Peace, a Person
His patience with the fearful
His mighty works, in times past and still today
Opportunities every day, every moment, to call on the name of the Lord for peace to those who suffer (Peace to the grieving in Aurora!)
Protection from dangers, seen and unseen

Phone visit with a friend
Lunch visit with my parents
Arrangements coming together to replace our HVAC system
Minds working in harmony

Follow-up visit with new rheumatologist
Her commitment to resolving this chest pain
Compassion beyond the clinical data
Changes in medication routine
Further tests ahead
Another new doctor

Weekend time with family
Nonni hugs
Watching our 3 little "pirate" nephews walk the plank, have a (balloon) cannonball fight, and search for treasure in their sandbox
Birthday cake
Husband a good uncle, playing with the boys and making them laugh

Three hummingbird sightings at the feeder
A very young male cardinal being fed by his papa and learning to forage for himself

A Carolina wren singing benediction beneath the kitchen window
A thunderstorm bringing lots of noise and a heaping 1/8" rain
Rainbow flying in a day later
A painted bunting, which we've never had at our feeder before
Looks pretty fierce for a rainbow, doesn't he?

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