How does peace fit into the message of the church in the Philippines?
I believe in the depth of my being that God coming to earth as the man Jesus of Nazareth is great news that all people can feel.
Hundreds of years have been spent trying to communicate with God, reach out to know him and be known by him. Prayer, rituals, and efforts to make God happy with us have been used within the church and outside the church. This so that people could feel that God might accept them, and the process gives the world the idea that it’s hard to know God.
But the message of the bible is the opposite of this! The message is that God came to earth to show us who He is and invite us to be with him! John 1:18 is a great example: No one has ever seen God. The God’s son, who is God and with the father, has shown us what God is like.
That was Jesus! A man born a refugee in Bethlehem, swung a hammer as a carpenter, taught that He was God on earth revealing his loving plan to fix all the brokeness here, and inviting all people to embrace him and affirming all hope with the miracle of his resurrection!
If religious systems are constructed to help us climb a mountain to get to God, the good news of scripture is that God came down the mountain as Jesus to meet us instead.
How does peace fit into this message?
Biblical Peace (the hebrew word shalom) is far more than “no more war.” Biblical Peace translates into harmony with God, others, ourselves and creation. Its is justice and restoration for all people so that all people can sit under the shade of their own tree and rest and harvest what they’ve planted themselves. That was the vision of shalom from Isaiah the Jewish prophet.
This experience is what Jesus brought, taught, was killed proclaiming and in his resurrection launched in the church. A community who continue to embody this message. This is also why the Apostle Paul calls the group of Jesus followers the body of Christ. We are the physical representation of everything that Jesus started. We are transformed b God’s miraculous spirit and choose to live our lives to demonstrate and announce peace with God, others, ourselves and with creation.
This really is big enough to be good news for all people!
This is what the gospel has to do with peace.
The life of Jesus is good news and the life of Jesus is about peace in all of creation!