I am the Lord your God,
… who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Isaiah 48:17 – 18
In the New Testament, we find many similar themes about peace.
Jesus told his disciples quite bluntly that they would have all kinds of trouble in the world, but that ” in him” they would have perfect peace.
On the one hand they were presented with the rather disconcerting prospect of trouble, whilst on the other hand there was a calm reassuring words of peace.
There was no idle promise, or platitudes, that everything would smooth sailing, but neither were the disciples given the impression that they were about to be cast adrift in a merciless sea of overwhelming currents.
Their problem, which is exactly the same as ours today, was to discover how to balance out living in the world with also living in Christ.
This has been our Christian dilemma ever since. To live in Christ apart and separate from the world has been the approach of monastics and fundamentalists for centuries. To live in the world without reference to living in Christ has been the tendency of many professing believers who show little, if any,sign of spiritual life and vitality.
To identify with the society that rejects and repudiates the uniqueness of Christ and his principles is an ongoing temptation against which Jesus’ disciples always had to struggle. As we do today?
As Christians, we find ourselves continuously exposed to society’s ills, tainted by its pollution, challenged by its needs, and touched by its hopelessness; thus isolation has not been an easy possibility, how much we may wish for it.
But how to live in it and triumph through it has always been our problem.
The answer is to be found in our ability to practise the teachings of Christ, as opposed to the principles of secularised society, and to draw on the resources of Christ’s indwelling presence, rather than the mechanical and organisational resources provided by society, however enlightened and concerned.
With many peaceful blessings