Don't Settle For a Lesser Peace | Wayne Massey

Isaiah 9:1-7

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan –

2 The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned.

3 You have enlarged the nation

and increased their joy;

they rejoice before you

as people rejoice at the harvest,

as warriors rejoice

when dividing the plunder.

4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,

you have shattered

the yoke that burdens them,

the bar across their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor.

5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle

and every garment rolled in blood

will be destined for burning,

will be fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and for ever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

will accomplish this.

In Writing…

Don't Settle For a Lesser Peace

This morning I want to speak to you about how each can play a part in bringing a true peace to our world. We gathered today to remember when the guns fell silent and peace came. On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour after four long years and twenty million deaths, a war to end all wars ended. 

We gather to remember. To remind ourselves: peace matters. Peace is beautiful and fragile: something we all long for. For some of us, peace is worth fighting for, even giving your life for. So we gather today to remember those who have served and have given that you and I may live in peace. 

The first armistice day was called in 1919. King George V issued a proclamation calling for a perfect stillness to enable concentrated remembrance. But yet as the nation paused in stillness, there were already other conflicts and revolutions: Russia, Turkey, Poland, Egypt, Ireland. Many of which involved British servicemen. And, of course, twenty one years later there followed yet another world war. We gather today knowing that true lasting peace appears to lie beyond our capabilities. 

CS Lewis, who had been injured in the great war, would want to ask you what you would do with those two things. Firstly: deep inside us lies a desire and longing for peace. And secondly: the lasting peace we desire lies beyond our grasp. Is that just the way things are, or is there something else going on? 

Lewis wrote that “if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” For Lewis your longing for true peace and the fact you cannot find it is a signpost towards another world, to a kingdom of peace for which you were made. And this other world is not that far away. It comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the one who at Christmas we call the prince of peace. 

Our longing for peace reminds us that we were made to live in peace with one another and with God. The fact that we somehow can’t seem to do it reminds us that we have messed things up. We’ve settled for a lesser definition of peace. We think just because the guns have been silenced that hostilities have ended. But we know that’s not true, some of the most silent places are the least peaceful. 

But God does not leave us there. Jesus comes, the Prince of Peace, to restore true peace to our lives and one day to the whole world. This is what we remember at Easter. Another death, the death of God in our place so we may be restored to him. Jesus taking upon himself all our hostility so we may receive his peace. True peace is not written on a paper signed by politicians. True peace is written on the hearts of those who have given themselves to the prince of peace. 

Among you this morning stand people who know and have received this peace. They look quite like you in many ways, the same struggles, same worries, same fears, same hopes and dreams. But there is one crucial difference: their lives have been turned upside down and inside out by the love and peace of God. They have become carriers of this love and peace. They carry it into their struggles, their worries, their fears and their hopes and dreams. And in doing so they have seen and are seeing transformation and change and experiencing a peace they once thought lay beyond them. A peace that can be yours too. 

Today we pause and remember, we give thanks and we commit ourselves to work for peace. But today God also invites each and every one of us not to settle for a lesser peace but to turn to him and receive a true and lasting peace.

Wayne Massey