“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” – Jude 1:2
What do you pair with peace? Personally, I’m a big fan of quiet. I relish still moments. I enjoyed the gentle sounds of nature being carried by a calm breeze. For me, it’s easy to define peace by the presence of calm and the lack of trouble. Yet, there is an undeniable difference between peace and tranquility.
The scripture never pairs peace with quiet. The bible joins peace with words like love and joy. Often peace is paired with an action, an exhortation to pursue peace or to make peace.
During the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was accused disrupting the peace by his activism. His protests against the policy of racial segregation of the Montgomery public transportation system agitated some in the community. In response to the accusation that he was “disturbing the peace” Rev. Dr. King said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
Seeking peace may sometimes mean confronting attitudes and behaviors that dehumanize and seek to diminish the image dei in others. Seeking peace may mean disrupting the way we live or the way society operates in order to create a new, holier norm. Seeking peace may mean getting loud.
Surely, it is true that tranquility, stillness, serenity, and peace overlap. And it is equally as true that it is difficult for our hearts to be at peace when those we love face turmoil, pain, and oppression.
Those precious moments when stress melts away and all seems right in the world are gifts to be treasured. And, they are gifts we are called to help craft for others.