Sermon on June 15, 2008: Peace

15 07 2008

 

Well, here we are at the 3rd week of our seven part series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And so far we have learned a couple of things.  We have learned that when the Holy Spirit comes in – when He moves in, He fills us.  He changes us.  He re-arranges us.  When the Holy Spirit moves in, we become a different people.  Now on the first week of our series we learned that we are filled with AGAPE.  We are filled with the unconditional love of God.  We are overwhelmed with the LOVE OF GOD and as a result of that, we love not only God but we also look for ways to love one another.  The unconditional AGAPE of God fills us and spills out from within us.  We are so filled with the Spirit that love oozes out of every poor in our bodies.  We love because He fills us with His love.

 

          Now second, we learned that we are filled with the CHARA of God – the Joy of the Spirit.  And we learned that it is a joy – it is happiness – that comes to us not because of outward circumstances – not because of what is happening in our lives – not because we have a good job – not because our health is good – not because we are in a loving and caring relationship.  It is a joy that fills us – that the Holy Spirit fills us with – because of what we are about to hear.

 

          The third FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is EIRENE.  St Paul says:

o de karpoV tou pneumatoV estin agaph, cara, eirhnh

 

EIRENE – Peace.  (By the way, if you know anyone with the name Irene – that comes from this Greek word and it means peace.)

 

          Well, once again, as I was getting this sermon ready, I went back to my favorite commentary on St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  And this is what I found the commentator saying about EIRENE – PEACE – THE THIRD FRUIT OF THE SPIRIR.

 

The quietness of the soul, the opposite of dread and terror, the feeling of all who walk with what is spirit and indeed know that all is well between themselves and God.

 

“The quietness of the soul…”  Don’t you just love those words?  I do.  “The quietness of the soul…”  I love those words because most of the time my soul is not quiet.  I spend most of my time, as I am sure you do, with a loud soul – worrying about things – just about anything – just about everything.  In fact, I bet if I handed out to everyone of you this morning a piece of paper and a pencil and asked you to list five things that you are worried about – five things that are distressing you right now – five things that are driving you nuts, I bet you could knock that list out in about thirty seconds.  ‘Cause we worry about anything and everything.  We worry about work.  We worry about money.  We worry about the kids.  We worry about the parents.  We worry about our friends.  We worry about health.  And if we don’t have something to worry about, we worry about that, because we are sure that we must have missed something.  There is something out there.  Something that we are not aware of.   Something that is lurking just beyond our reach.  Something that has lulled us into a false sense of security.  Something that we should be worrying about.  We drive ourselves crazy and we drive everyone around us crazy.  It is like a friend of mine who defines an optimist as someone who has not grasped the gravity of the situation.

 

          And when that kind of stuff happens our souls are not quiet.  Our stomach churn.  Our heads hurt.  We can’t sleep, or we sleep too much because we are always tired.  We can’t eat, or we each too much.  We smoke.  We drink.  We drive ourselves crazy.  Our souls are not quiet.  They are loud.  They are screaming at us.  And all of us yearn for – dream for – hope for – PEACE. 

 

          And so what does St. Paul say to us.  He says that one of the Fruits of the Spirit – one of the things that happens when the Spirit moves in to us – takes over us – is that we find PEACE.  Not because all of those things that we were worrying about have suddenly gone away, but we find peace, because we know that all is well, regardless of what is going on, because all is well between us and our God.  All is well between us and our God.

 

          And isn’t that what Jesus meant when He talked about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. 

 

He told the disciples – He tells us – the lilies don’t sew – the birds don’t sow and reap – and yet God takes care of them.  And if God is that concerned with the problems of birds and lilies, how much more is He concerned with you.  That is why Jesus came in the first place.  He came to make all things right.  He came so that we could know now and forever that everything is well between God and us.  He came so that we could have PEACE.

 

          I remember several years ago we were taking a trip with Jenni to Baltimore.  I started driving, but as the minutes turned into hours, I really felt exhausted.  I had worked that whole day before we left.  I was having trouble keeping my eyes open.  Finally, Jenni said, “Let me drive for a while.”  So we pulled over.  She got behind the wheel.  She took off.  Eventually I drifted off to sleep knowing that someone else was at the wheel.  That is what God is saying to us this morning.  Relax.  I am at the wheel.  Everything is OK.  Just trust me.  And if we can do that, well, then we will have peace.  Peace that comes when we give ourselves over to the Spirit – when the Spirit fills us with His presence.  When we know that God is at the wheel and everything will be OK.

 

          So here we are again at the point of the sermon when I try to answer the question – WHAT DOES THE PASTOR WANT ME TO DO?

 

          I want you to follow the advice of one of the great Theologians of our time – Paul Simon who said:

 

Slow down.  You move to fast.  You got to make the morning last.  Just kicking down those cobblestones.  Looking for fun and feeling groovy.

 

 

I want you to fine peace and feel GROOVY.

 

 

Amen!

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