Our LifeGroup is studying Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. Last night, we studied Peace. We talked about the difference between peacekeeping, which often finds us clinging to false peace, and peacemaking, which is active and selfless. The crux of understanding peace is understanding that it only comes through submission to the authority of Christ. His ways are not our ways, and His ways are greater. Peace does not require resolution. Peace does not require clear answers. Peace can come in the midst of crisis and chaos. Peace is not about peaceful circumstances, it is about allowing Christ to take over control of your life. Peace is the opposite of the sins of division: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy. Peace is trusting Christ.
This morning I awakened to the tragic news of the shootings in Colorado. I am sad. I am sad for the people who walked out of a sermon and into the line of fire. I am sad for those living at YWAM, going through discipleship training, and experiencing such an intrusive loss. I am sad for ministries who will now hesitate to show hospitality to those seeking shelter. I am sad for congregations who will train their greeters how to be weary of questionable visitors. I am sad, but I am also disturbed. I am disturbed by this scenario:
The gunman was killed by an armed security volunteer at the church before police arrived, authorities said. The gunman's name was not released. Officers found several smoke-generating devices on the church campus; their intended purpose wasn't clear.
Boyd said the security guard rushed the attacker, who didn't get more than 6 feet inside the building, and "took him down in the hallway."
"She probably saved 100 lives," Boyd said of the guard. The gunman, he added, "had a lot of ammunition to do a lot of damage."
About 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting, said Boyd. Security had been beefed up after the shootings hours earlier in Arvada, he said.
I am disturbed, because the idea of a congregation needing security to be "beefed up", or even the need for an "armed security volunteer" seems to be in contrast to this:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21)
Peace is submission to the authority of Christ. Peace trusts, despite the circumstances. God, grant us Peace.