Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:15-16
Have you ever met anyone who just radiated goodness, niceness and pleasantness?
In the course of my life and ministry I have been blessed to know a number of such people. They have not always been super-smart, ultra-talented, mega-blessed, or natural leaders. On the other hand, these folks seem to be welcomed just about any place they go. That’s because without working at it, they have the ability to make almost everyone feel loved and at peace. Now if you’re paying attention, you may have noticed that both of the preceding sentences have a qualifier. I said, “just about any place” they went and “make almost everyone feel loved.”
I put in those qualifiers because it seems that even the best people in this world have someone who dislikes them.
As evidence of that, I point out that around 1:30 a.m. in the morning on Friday, July 26th, somebody vandalized the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This they did by deliberately throwing green paint at the statue of our country’s most beloved and probably best president. They also followed up with throwing the green pain on the altar and organ at the National Cathedral and on the statue outside the Smithsonian.
Since hearing about that event, I’ve wondered just what would it take to make an individual so angry that he would take his frustrations out on a piece of stone set up to honor a good man who had been martyred in the service to his country? And as I was thinking about such folk, I also ended up thinking about Jesus.
I thought of Jesus because, well, God’s Son lived, suffered and died. He did so for the grouchy, gloomy Gus as well as the soul who is filled with sweetness and light. When Jesus rose from the dead, He did so to bring peace to the hearts of those who seem to subsist on a diet composed completely of sour grapes and those whose mouths are filled with honey.
The point I am trying to make is this: It’s easy for you and me to give thanks to the Lord for those who make us smile and give our hearts a warm glow; it is far harder for us to pray for those whose dark shadow seems to radiate gloom to everyone around them… especially toward us.
Let us ask that all of us will be changed. May we all, as St. Paul encourages, be filled with thankfulness in our hearts toward God.
Dear Lord Jesus, when you were born the shepherds were told that event was “good news of great joy” (see Luke 2:10). When you rose from the dead, your disciples were filled with joy. May that same joyful spirit touch those Christians who today find themselves living in a cloud of cheerlessness and those hearing news that is hard to deal with, in and through Jesus. Give us all your peace deep, deep inside. Amen.
Grace and Peace