Peace

Listening to the Lord’s words
Wondering what it means to love
Hearing such specific advice
Wondering if this message is possible

How can we turn the other cheek?
How can we forgive the evil done us?
What allows us to put aside grudges and forgive?
Is peace possible?

This speaker seems an idealist
Speaking about heaven as if it came to Earth
Christendom hears these words
We cry out: “Lord you do not understand humanity!”

Yet Christ walked this world in human Flesh
He lived just as he taught others to live
He died faithful to His message
Could it be we are afraid of the cross?

Who are we to say God cannot understand?
Do we know humanity better than our Lord?

This is the second week of West Richmond Friends going through the Friends testimonies as listed in “SPICE” This week, we had a rather extended message from Mary Lord who spoke, among other things’ of an experience she had before she was a convinced Friend. Mary had known Quakers, and respected them — but she rejected the peace testimony as unreasonably optimistic and utopian. She was Christian, and valued scripture, yet when she read the Sermon on the Mount she rejected it as utopian. In a way, she said, her faith accused Jesus of not understanding humanity and telling us to do things that could never work. One day, God opened to her that it was arrogance to say: “I understand humanity, but Jesus does not”. After this, she felt free to join with Friends.

Mary Lord’s testimony and life history spoke to my condition. What can I do to bring the peace and love Jesus taught into my own life?

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3 comments on “Peace

  1. I’m not sure if SPICE (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality) form the best list — but this is the modern list. A critique of this list can be found below.

    http://www.quakerranter.org/2004/10/quaker_testimonies/

  2. liberata says:

    I’m currently reading John Howard Yoder’s book The War of the Lamb. It is a revelation, that’s all I can say. Yoder goes deeper, explains Jesus’ work of non-violence better than any writer I have ever known.

    Actually, it isabout understanding humans and the fact that we have a profound, fundamental violent streak. Those of us who think we’re somehow more just or enlightened surrender it to the State, allowing it to do our killing for us by executing criminals and wreaking violence on others in foreign lands that we deem to be “the enemy.” Some Christians hide behind the Just War doctrine, whose principles are becoming ever more meaningless as our weaponry becomes more lethal and the Powers behind the war machine more greedy. Others of us who hope and pray that peace will one day come on earth as it is in heaven, argue and haggle with theologians who, in turn, find ways to justify war because, after all, the Kingdom as not yet come.

    Yoder says the humanity has a deep-seated violent streak. He makes the point by noting that the first act of a human described in Genesis after the Fall is fratricide. And God, strangely enough, has no need for vengeance. He even puts a mark on the murderer so that no one takes vengeance on him, lest violence spiral out of control. What Jesus did was submit to and absorb violence – the only way to break the spiral.

    I think that if we truly believe in the peace testimony and seek to practice it, then we must train and pray that we can do the same as Jesus when and if it ever comes our turn.

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