Peace On Earth
On the night of Christ's birth a choir of angels appeared to a group of shepherds near Bethlehem . The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!” Peace on earth was both the message and the promise.
But we ask, if Christ came to give us peace, being the Prince of Peace, why is there such a shortage of peace in the world? Why are there wars and terrorist attacks? Why are communities destroyed by crime, gangs, murder and drug abuse? Why is there conflict in families resulting in divorce and child abuse? Why is there so much suffering in the world if the angels were correct in their proclamation?
To answer these questions we must first define the word peace. The world's definition of peace is essentially negative. To the world peace is defined as the cessation of hostilities. The land may lay in ruins, but if the bullets are no longer flying and the bombs are not dropping we say there is now peace.
In contrast true peace, shalom in the Old Testament, encompasses all that adds to a person's welfare. Biblically the word peace is comprehensive referring to all that is good and promotes flourishing. It also includes the idea of fulfillment, to have a life that is complete and lacking nothing.
The reason why we lack peace lies within ourselves. St. Paul wrote, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot.” (Ro. 8:7) St. James asks, “What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?” (Ja. 4:1) We have conflict within ourselves and we have conflict with other people, because we are in conflict with God. Man is at war with God because he has declared himself independent of God and has made himself his own god. As such we are ruled by selfish passions which bring us into conflict with our fellow man and he with us.
This of necessity places us under divine wrath. The angels that night were not singing primarily of peace among men and nations. They were singing about peace with God which is the only thing that will produce peace between men.
Only those whose lives are pleasing to God may experience peace with God. Remember the angels sang, “Peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Only those who through faith accept Christ as their Savior and Lord are pleasing to God. The cross of Christ is the means of peace. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace by the blood of His cross.” (Col. 1:19, 20) We receive the peace with God which Christ earned by placing our faith in Him. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into the grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Ro. 5:1,2) That is why Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
All of us long for peace. However, we go down many a dead end street in our pursuit of it. Christ came to give peace to all who will turn to Him as Savior and Lord. May we all experience the peace the angels sang about that first Christmas long ago. Then we may become promoters of peace among all men.
By Rev. F. M. Levi
Missionary of The Month
Rev. & Mrs. Gerhard Meyer (Grace), Esther, Melody, Jessica and Joy. Youth/Camp/Pastoral Ministries. Schwarzenborn, Germany.
Shield of Faith
The television ministry of St. Andrew's. Every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on WJYS Channel 62. Do be in prayer for this ministry. Video and DVD recordings of the programs may be purchased by contacting the church office at (708) 614-7404.
Learn more about St. Andrew's through our website: www.andrewrec.org
December 2, 1873.
The founding of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Holiday House Walk
St. Andrew's will participate in the Tinley Park Holiday House Walk on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005. The hours will be 1-4 p.m.
Family and Friends
December 10, 2005
8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. Adult class
10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Infant/Child class
1:30-3:30 p.m. Adult class
4:30-6:30 p.m. Infant/Child class
December 11, 2005
12:30-3:00 p.m. Infant/Child class
3:30-5:30 p.m. Adult class
Cost is $10.00 per person, limited to 6 persons each class. There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex, or you may call the church office at (708) 614-7404. Classes will be taught by Beth Garrison, MSN, RN.
Sunday, December 11, 2005. During the coffee hour in the Parish Hall.
Christmas Eve Service
December 24, 11:00 p.m. Refreshments at 10:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.
The word “Christmas” comes from the word “Christ Mass” of the early church. It is a season which the church set aside as early as the middle of the fourth century. The day, December 25, was established as the day of celebration in A.D. 354. On this day the church celebrates the fulfillment of the Lord's prophecies concerning the Messiah.
On this day we rejoice at God's entrance into our world in the flesh….that is Jesus Christ, God has become one of us. In entering our world, Jesus brought the light of the Gospel into a world darkened by sin with the promise that “whosoever believes in Him has everlasting life.” For this reason we celebrate the Christmas season with joy and the symbols of light, radiance and pleasing color.
Dec. 11 – Loretta Sellers
Dec. 16 – Barney Reagan
Dec. 17 – William O'Brien
Dec. 18 – Thomas Bowman
Dec. 20 – Leah Ann Andricopolus