Thursday, December 06, 2007

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

I've been reading a couple of books for groups I'm part of through church -
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
, by Ken Sande, and Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth, by Dutch Sheets.

What stood out to me today as I was meditating on the former was that help - strength, power, peace, wisdom - is available for the asking. Amazing!

There is a question which neither book has really addressed, yet. It may lie at the intersection between the two. Brace yourself. It's kind of a big question...

Is it possible to have peace on earth, goodwill to men? World peace is something we pray for and long for, even as we sort of mock that ambition. Well, in our day, should we give up on it, or strive all the more for such an ambitious goal? Some of this came up in the comments on my October 10 posting. I wrote,
"...I am not holding my breath waiting for world peace. ... The humanistic worldview says that people are basically good and we just all need to learn to work together. But there's a problem. Reality. Human nature is flawed. Every one of us tends toward sin, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness. Under such circumstances, glimpses of peace on earth are rare, indeed."
Someone commented, "Does that mean that trying to achieve peace isn't worth the effort?"

I am still wondering.


Paul Merrill said...

We must work toward peace - or reduction of poverty - or helping the environment improve - or whatever task God has called us individually to, for the betterment of people in the world He created.

The alternative? Let's all give up.

I don't wanna do that.

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

I agree with Paul. War and poverty will always be with us but to sit idly by and let humanity live in hopeless squallor is wrong, anti-Micah 6:8

Marti said...

Yeah, so what's still bugging me? Maybe it's the distinction between "striving for world peace" (essential - and something we primarily contribute to or equip ourselves by doing the hard work of building/maintaining interpersonal peace)and "expecting world peace." Maybe?

Shane said...

You know, I don't want to give up on some conflicts being resolved. Every time the Koreas make a step, I get a little excited. I still even get hopeful when Arabs and Jews schedule a meeting.

I'm glad people didn't give up in the days before the dissolution of the USSR, before apartheid was brought down in SA.

But yeah, what can we hope for here and what do we wait for later? I suspect the end times teaching many of us were brought up on has shaped what we have capacity to hope for in this regard.

There's a post-mil part of me that really loves this song: "For the darkness shall turn to dawning,

And dawning to noonday bright,

And Christ's great Kingdom shall come on earth,

The Kingdom of love and light."