William Voelker, Pastor
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Our nation has experienced more than a few shocks in the past months. Anger is everywhere, it seems, and there is little peace to found in the public square. Old animosities, festering beneath the surface, have begun to spill out, while current injustices and frustrations pile up. There seems to be little that any of us can do, as individual people, to turn things around.
While this is probably true on the national or state level, it is not true when it comes to our neighborhoods and our community as a whole. We have neighbors who are different than us, we have a community that is made up of a wide variety of people, and bump elbows with them more often than we think. There are opportunities for kindness, for conversation, and for simply being friendly to others that can make a difference down the road, when there may be friction. Knowing that someone disagrees with your position or belief without that meaning that they hate you can help decide between conflict and fruitful discussion.
We who are part of Christ's church know also that these conflicts and disagreements, important as they are for our daily lives and the lives of our children, are also only temporary, and are not going to last forever and ever. We know, trust, and believe that Jesus has already overcome sin and death, and that this world is passing away. When the things of this world are no longer the most important things to us, and not the only things that are, we find that we don't have to be caught up in them. This allows us to see the people we meet not as competitors or threats, but as people who are in need of forgiveness and mercy, people who matter much more than the issues of the day.
Peace begins with Christ, who won peace between God and mankind through his death on the cross. Because of that peace, and the forgiveness and life that Christ gives, we can share peace with our neighbors that is more than not fighting. The peace we have been given is one where we are freed from having to have our own ways, where we see people not as representatives of groups or ideas, but as those Christ died for just as much as he did for us. They matter.