Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"Where Is Our Peace?"

Malachi 3:1-42,  Psalm 85,  Luke 3:1-6

December 6, 2009

by James Greene

           It is amazing how things have changed since I was in High School.  The volume of things we have to do, and the speed of the things we have to do, keeps increasing every year.

           It has gone from having only one phone in the house, to almost everyone caring a cell phone. There seems to be no escape from the demand on our time and the number of things we have’ to do.  (It makes you wonder about the name – “Cell Phone”) 

There is no escape and we get called anywhere:   There is no Peace!!

in the car, in the Home Depot, in line at the Post Office, --even in the restroom. 

You see people walking around talking to the air, like they are schizo-phrenec and

out of touch with anyone around them.  Sometimes, we feel out of touch, over whelmed ,and running on empty.  We feel like the mouse in a “T” maze we keep running for the cheese.  And there is no Peace.-

          

Peace, in the Greek is the absence of war or conflict.  Back in the 1960’s they use to say Peace was the time between wars when they choose up sides.    In the 1970’s we heard two sides to the definition:  It was Peace with Dignity, Vs. Peace through firepower superiority.

Peace (in the Biblical view) is wholeness or well being, it parallels with Righteousness.  All in all, Peace, is the gift from God,  and God’s Peace is the assurance of future blessings.     

 

I  Peace  

           We see in our reading from Malachi.  The prophesy of God’s Promise is seen the announcing of the sending of God’s messenger, and the coming of the “Lord you are seeking” (the Messiah of the Covenant) “Says the Lord Almighty”.  It is written,

in praise of God.  God had allowed Zacharia (in his righteousness) time and peace to reflect on why God had called him during the time he was silenced.

           When gold or silver is refined, the impurities are burned off.  If it is heated too long, or too hot, it will consume the metal.  The refiner watches the molten metal until he can see his image in it (like a mirror); then he knows it is pure. We are refined by God, until, He can see his image in us.  Where he can see that we reflect His image to those around us. God is refining us in righteousness to prepare us for His coming.  This is God’s Peace where we are reflecting that wholeness, that well-being, and that Peace.  This is what is being discussed in the text.

 

           In the fast pace of today’s environment, the culture demands instant decisions and instant communication.  We must be constantly connected.  When working in the

                                                                 1

semiconductor Clean Room, we were required to carry a pager, and a radio.  I have had an operator asked a question, my pager going off, someone calling me on the radio, and an engineer walk up and ask a questionall at the same time!  There was no time for peace.  This frenzy started before, and lasted after the 12 hour shift. 

           Sometimes, I was able to escape to my cube.  I had a poster on the wall of a dirt road (in the midst of large oaks) covered in fall leaves.  The road faded away over some small rolling hills out of sight. 

Many times, I paused, and took a mental walk down that road, to clear the clutter and chaos from my mind, and slow the pace of my day, for a few moments of Peace.

But God’s Promise is what Our Peace is all about!  (2X)

 

II  Peace Vs False Peace?

           There is a false peace, and God’s Peace.  We see the ancient peace of the Greeks where it was and absence of conflict.  The PAX Romana (The Roman Peace) was a peace maintained by brut force; much like the modern Russian occupation of Eastern Europe.  The peace in the former Hungary was maintained through oppression.  Once that oppression was removed, the conflict of centuries erupted within the ethnic regions of the country.

           In God’s Path to peace, we are called to be a people of Peace.  The messenger and the Messiah, announced by Zacharia, comes to guide us into that path (the way) of Peace.  It is Christ the Messiah who comes to mankind that we might have God’s Peace.  He is God’s gift of Peace to all, that we may be the people of Peace.

                                                     

           An inspirational story written recently by a woman who works for P.F. Chang's in San Antonio.  This is a story about David Robinson formerly of The Spurs basketball team.  Mr. Robinson had come into P.F. Chang's for dinner with his family.  He was kind, courteous, and very patient with all of the fans who asked him for autographs.  He held a happy face and patient demeanor with all of the people, that he spoke with.  Right as he was about to leave, a young woman approach him and told him the story of how her brother was killed by a drunk driver just a few days before, and that his wake was that day.  She explained, that her brother was a huge Spurs and David Robinson fan.  He never had the opportunity to meet him, but she asked for an autograph on her brother's funeral program.  Mr. Robinson was very sympathetic, and the woman was very emotional.  It took a lot of courage to approach him and ask him for his autograph.  He signed the program, and then asked her if he could pray with her.... With tears in her eyes she said, "Yes, Please". He wrapped his giant hands around hers...and together they prayed. With all of the people, noise, and traffic around him, -he prayed a long and heartfelt prayer, asking God for strength for her and for her family in their time of loss, and for the protection of her brother.  I could see he was speaking directly to God in that moment, and he meant every word.

 

Though this took only a few minutes, it was amazing.  When he left, the worker

                                                      2

stood in awe, she was truly inspired by him.  In the middle of his day, he had offered a sense of peace and calm to a woman who had suffered a devastating loss.  That moment will live in