Give Peace a Chance [bible/music/reflection]

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives…
Let not your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV).

An audio of this reflection

December 1980. It’s less than two weeks to Christmas, and John Lennon is arriving home after a recording session. Within half an hour, he has been murdered. The next morning, thousands of mourners gather outside his home singing ‘Give peace a chance’, John’s song made infamous as an anti-Vietnam war protest. Today, I want us to consider what peace really is. 

In our reading today, we see another John writing about peace. Jesus has been telling His disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit after He is gone. The prospect of being left alone is scary, but Jesus speaks of the Spirit as an Encourager, someone who will dwell within us. In Luke’s gospel, He will give us the words to say in moments of trial (12:11-12).

So many people feel helpless right now.
How many people do you know need encouraging?
What fears keep you awake at night? 

As someone with health anxiety, peace of mind often eludes me. Despite my best intentions to achieve peace emotionally or mentally, I fail miserably, as panic attacks surge through my body. We often run to different people in search of answers, but find ourselves worse off, as multiple voices seek our attention. We ‘google’ symptoms and end up even more frightened, when going to a Doctor or Therapist is needed. In the same way, many of us are looking for peace in all kinds of places. The peace that Christ promises, however, “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This means that it goes beyond what we can see and hear. How is this achieved? How can I know peace like that?

The key I believe is feeding our minds with biblical truth. By meditating on, and trusting in, the promises of God’s word, we find a stability that cannot be delivered by any earthly government or political system, regardless of our persuasion. In one of the most famous Christmas passages, the prophet Isaiah declares that:

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.”

Isaiah 9:7

The God of the Bible is trustworthy. This doesn’t mean we won’t suffer pain in our lives, but Jesus delivers hope for those in anguish. Do you feel afraid right now? If so, you are not alone. God is interested in your hurt. Maybe you are facing job loss, or have already been laid off. God cares. Isaiah says His passion will achieve His reign of peace. He wants this to happen for you! By trusting His promises, we can have peace when life is hard if we trust in its true source. 

John Lennon’s desire for world harmony was shattered by his untimely death, but this Christmas, will you give Christ a chance to show you what real peace is?

by Jeremy Dillon