This next session will focus on “Extending Peace.” Before we do so, however, this would be a good time to consider: What do we do to open ourselves up to and receive the gift of God’s peace? And who and what helps us receive and experience God’s peace?
The MC USA resources contain the following statements about God’s Peace:
“Peace is a gift from God to the world, and we are invited into the grace of extending that gift. Peace is not a possession. It’s not something we guard. It doesn’t have borders that we police, as if we owned it. Instead, peace is a way of life, embodied in Jesus Christ, a gift of grace to the world. We have been invited to extend God’s work — to let grace reach through our lives, to let Christ’s peace flow through us. That’s what it means to name ourselves “the body of Christ”— we live by the Spirit’s grace, alive in Jesus, now commissioning us as ambassadors of the same peace that was at work in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.”
“The Holy Spirit redeems the world with Christ’s peace. We’ve been invited to join God in this labor, as the world is being reborn with the gospel of peace. In the prophetic word offered our churches in the book of Revelation, God describes a new way of organizing our lives together, represented as the biblical city of Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-4). The name “Jerusalem” means “city of peace.” That’s what God promises to us: peace as a new way of being together. And this gift from heaven — this community — is for everyone. “Its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). There are no guards, no police, no migra [immigration enforcement police]. Peace belongs to God, without gatekeepers — a gift for the world which includes us if we’re willing to live according to the way of Jesus.”
To prepare for the class, read the following Bible passages: James 3: 13-18; Revelation 21: 1-4. Though not mentioned in the Pathways materials, read the creation account of Genesis 1-2:3 from the point of view of this question: What does the Genesis creation account say about our God of peace? For my thoughts on that, I have posted an essay I wrote some 6 years ago on Creation and God’s peace.