A short devotion for 23rd August

Call to worship

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:18

Bible Reading

  • Ephesians 2:11-22

Confession

Merciful and faithful God, your purpose is to fold both earth and heaven in a single peace. With sorrow we confess that in our hearts we keep alive the passions and pride that lead to hatred and to war. We are not worthy of your love nor of the sacrifice made by others on our behalf. Lord have mercy. Almighty God, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Message: Peace

Bible Readings

  • Isaiah 32:16-20
  • Luke 2:22-35 or Ephesians 2:11-22

Text

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Introduction

Peace is a very precious state of mind. It is a priceless condition for which men and women have died on the battlefields in wars not only in defence of our great nation, but also in the forest of the mind.

On the 15th August 1945 peace came to our world when Japan surrendered bringing to an end the 2nd World War. On the 6th August Colonel Paul Tibbets dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima killing over 80,000 out of a population of 350.000 people. A few days later Nagasaki received the same treatment. Colonel Tibbets later wrote in his memoirs, “I feel a sense of shame for the whole human race, which through all history has accepted the shedding of human blood as a means of settling disputes between nations.”

Peace too can be disturbing. When a ship is underway at sea and all of a sudden the engine stops and you’re turned in (asleep) you will wake up and want to know what is wrong? Peace is not just noiseless, you can have peace in a stormy sea, in a crowded cafe, a football match. It is an assurance that all is well. After all the loudest noise is silence, ask any deaf person.

Peace of Mind

Dr John Lockley points out, “That the body and brain are physical parts of ourselves.” The mind has two important aspects, ‘Logic and Emotion.’ Logic is a calculating type of thinking, whilst emotions are inner sensation and can refer to overall feelings.

Yes, we have all felt anxious or sad at times, but for most it is only a temporary condition and we will soon get over it or even visit our GP and get some help. There is help and people should not feel bad in seeking it. God has provided help and healing. How would you describe peace? Sitting on a hillside on a hot summer’s day looking down on the slow flowing river below with nothing but the sound of birds singing or watching the sheep in the valley!

Peace of Christ

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Is.26:3 (KJV) My late father found that peace a few days before he died on the 7th January 1980.

In 1418 the city of Rouen in France was under siege by the British and on Christmas Day Henry V wanted to feed those that were still alive, so history records that Rouen’s constable agreed to the truce. However as part of the truce no soldiers were allowed to bring food, so it was agreed that two priest and 3 men would do it. So amidst great fanfare and hymn singing the people of Rouen gladly received food sent by the king. The city fell on the 19th January 1419. Jesus said, “I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.” Jh.10:10.

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Real peace can only come from the author of peace, Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

The Sawi people, a tribe of head hunters in Papua New Guinea, a Stone Age tribe whose hero was Judas, sealed peace between two tribes by offering a peace child. What had they done? They had exchanged a baby. God has sent His Son Jesus as the babe of Bethlehem to bring peace into our trouble world, into our troubled mind.

I like the Japanese version of the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my peace setter, I shall not rush. He makes me to pause and rest for quiet intervals. He provides me with stillness which restores my serenity. He leads me in ways of efficiency through the calmness of spirit, and his guidance is peace. Even though I have a great many things to do each day, I will not fret, for His all importance to keep me balanced. He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oil of tranquility. My cup of joyous energy overflows. Surely harmony and usefulness shall be the fruits of my hours, for I shall walk at the peace of my Lord and dwell in his house forever.” (Taken from the Battle by the late Noel Grant)

Prayers of Intercession

O Jesus, Prince of Peace, in a world of turmoil, where hostility and hatred towards Your people are increasing, where nobody knows what will happen next on a planet infected with coronavirus, we want to thank You for Your promise to give us Your peace, a peace that the world cannot give. Please bless us with that peace, and enable us to keep our hearts untroubled and unafraid.

We pray for those working with the NHS, those in Care Homes and all Emergency Services. We pray for all affected in recent disasters, in Lebanon, in India’s plane crash and in the Aberdeenshire train derailment. We pray for all who have lost loved ones and for those injured and their families. We pray for all who are helping in these awful tragedies. May our peace – filled lives in an anxious world bring glory and praise to Your Name. Amen

Blessing

May God keep you in all your days.
May Christ shield you in all your ways.
May the Spirit bring you healing and peace and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen
May God the Holy Trinity drive all darkness from you and pour upon you blessing and light. Amen