This post is part of Mennonite Church USA’s MennoCon21 #BringThePeace series.
Dr. Lesley Francisco McClendon is the senior pastor of C3 – Calvary Community Church, Hampton, Virginia. She teaches with vigor and passion and aims to deliver powerful, life-altering messages with their simple, easy-to-comprehend delivery. She has a passion for bridging generational gaps and loves speaking to a broad range of audiences, although she often says that mid-20s to mid-life crisis is her sweet spot. Lesley and her husband, Caleb, will speak on “The Root of Peace” during the Tuesday evening worship service at MennoCon21.
Peace is the best form of currency. Unfortunately, many forget to hold on to it, and not holding on to it has cost many so much in life.
I have to be honest: I think peace is one of those words that we throw around, but we don’t quite understand its meaning.
Do a quick search for “what is peace” on Google, and a little over one billion results will pop up in nearly half of a second. To me, peace goes beyond a Google search, and to be frank, I’m not sure if it is something that can be totally explained in the natural realm.
Peace had its origin before we, as humankind, even existed. God’s peace is rooted in the creation story. I think one of the things we should note is that creation is very beautiful. It is not something that’s scary or fearful — it is joy-filled; it is peaceful. Creation was an intentional process, and it was also orderly.
As we look at the story of creation, we see that God designs specific things for specific purposes on specific days. God is not a God of disorder but of peace. How do we know that? Because the God we see and come to understand in creation doesn’t create and sustain the world through violence or coercion; instead, God brings order out of chaos. We even see glimmers of peace in the garden of Eden where God has a harmonious relationship with humankind.
God created everything, and it was very good until sin entered the world. When sin crept in, fellowship with God was broken and chaos, disorder and disarray were imminent.
But the question remains, how do we get back to a place of peace? That’s where Jesus comes in. In our sinful state, God demonstrates God’s own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, God sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8). Because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we are restored to a peaceful relationship with God (Romans 5:1).
Although peace existed before we were created, because of Jesus, we can access it whenever it is needed. Peace is just a thought away. After all, Isaiah 26:3 declares: “You will keep [them] in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because (s)he trusts in You” (NKJV). When we keep our minds fixated on Christ, choose not to be anxious, and make our requests known to God with thanksgiving, we have a promise that peace that we don’t even understand will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6).
What my husband, Caleb, and I hope to convey at convention this summer is that the creation story is foundational, but what Jesus does for us is formational. How can we take the root of peace and internalize it enough that our lives display the fruit of peace? I have some thoughts, but if you want to hear more about them, I would love for you to join us virtually or in person at MennoCon21 on July 6. Until then, may the peace of Christ rest, reign, rule and abide in your life and the lives of those you encounter.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.