Christ Church Kenilworth > Resources > Blogs > The Prince of Peace

Dear Friends
 
We are certainly living in historical days in the unfolding history of our nation. In the wake of the release of the State of Capture report there are hosts of voices calling for the resignation or removal of Jacob Zuma. Everyone has plenty to say on these matters, but where might we look for some of God’s wisdom?
 
Perhaps a good place to start in these days leading up to Christmas is Isaiah’s prophecy, “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.” 
 
I was struck the other day by a comment made by Oscar Siwali, one of the mediators on campus, that our default method of dealing with disagreements in South Africa is always a resort to aggression and often violence. We know that to be true throughout the turbulent history of the last 50 years. It is also true of a great deal of world history, and we are annually reminded of it via Remembrance Day as we commemorate two devastating World Wars and many other smaller wars. So, too, our concerns about the American presidential elections coming up are in no small measure related to how that nation chooses to wield its great military power.
 
But Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In the political ferment of first century Palestine he said to those who came to arrest him, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?’ he told his followers to put their swords away and healed the severed ear of the High Priest’s servant. He said to Pontius Pilate, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ Pilate didn’t challenge him on this because all the evidence in his possession showed it to be true.
 
Our calling in all political seasons is to follow the Prince of Peace. None of us, I imagine, would be storming the fence of the Union Buildings as we saw EFF followers doing on Wednesday and being repulsed by tear gas and rubber bullets; but we can be captured in much more subtle ways by a resort to aggression, and it flows out in our language and the angry cast of our body language. The resort to aggression always points to the focus of our hearts. In a few limited cases it may be justified when a loved one or defenceless person is under actual threat, but often it has more to do with protecting our securities and advantages.
 
To follow the Prince of Peace is to struggle with his call to leave our securities behind, as he asked his first disciples to do. The celebrated Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus had to come to the place of saying, “…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” It was because of his willingness to let go of the things to which he might before have clung tightly that Paul could then say, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”
In our turbulent situation it is easy to see what we have to lose, and, for others, what we might have to gain; but the Prince of Peace invites us to see with even greater clarity that which we cannot lose. Nowhere are we promised that the things of this world will stay secure, quite the opposite, in fact. The passage in Hebrews that we spent four weeks with in the Twin Peaks series warns us, “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. ’The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
Christmas is often superficially branded the “Season of Peace”, but true peace “shalom” comes when we are deeply rooted in our heavenly security. May we be people of shalom and followers of the “Prince of Shalom” as a witness to our land in this season.

Many blessings
Rob
 

Rob Taylor, 16/11/2016

 
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