This Sunday's message is called "Finding Peace in a Pandemic." In thinking about peace, I remembered an old preacher story in which a child was at the dinner table with his family. Mom and dad were talking about "peace on earth" when the child decided to dump the peas from his dinner plate on the floor and proudly announce to his parents, "peas on earth!" Now I know it's a pretty silly story, but in searching for it online I came across a children's pop-up book called Peas on Earth. Predictably, it is about two peas discussing what peace or peas on earth might look like. Dogs and cats get along. It even ends with the line, "give peas a chance!"
While that story is geared for children, it does touch on the Biblical word for peace which is shalom. When it comes to "peace" as shalom, it suggests that peace is more than just not bickering on a personal level or going to war on a much larger level. God's peace on earth is about humankind working to get along in the way that God intended in the first place. That's why we talk about "peace-making." It's not just something we feel on the inside, but something we do on the outside.
A while back someone suggested that every time we gather in worship, we should close the service holding hands and singing "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." While I like the message expressed in that popular song, I have to admit that in our time of social distancing, envisioning us standing in worship and holding hands makes me pause. I wonder if we will all ever feel comfortable doing that again. Who knows? But I hope that happens again in the not-too-distant future.
Until the time that we can gather again and worship together, whether or not we hold hands, I hope you will join us online this Sunday as we hear about the good news of God's peace. We might even learn about how we can each make some peace. That's something that we need and our world needs more of now!