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Peace in a Shaken World

Dear brothers and sisters,

While we have used the term a lot, I struggle a bit with the language of the “new normal.”

Obviously, we mean what life will be like after the pandemic, and certainly many things have changed already. I think there will be major impacts on business travel, online education, various types of available jobs, the economy, etc., etc.

But my real struggle is with the concept of “normal.” I think when we talk about getting back to normal life, we mean getting back to a peaceful and orderly life. Looking back on my life, I recognize that it was always a combination of peace and tribulation. It rarely felt just normal.

Of course, this combination should not be surprising. Jesus told his disciples: 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Note the locations. Our peace is located in connection to our victor Jesus, while our life located in the world can shake us. Certainly the last year and a half have been a time of worldwide shaking. We have been painfully made aware that disruption, death, displacement, division, and danger are always at hand or around the corner.

Before you fully enter the “new normal,” how are you going to “locate” yourself in Jesus and in his peace more deeply? I could give the standard and generally helpful answers of prayer, Bible study, worship, service, and fellowship.

But I wonder if the better course is for each of you to ask Jesus to direct you to particular ways to live in his peace. Consider the verse above in the context of John 16 as a whole. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your mind and heart. One question I have been prompted to ask recently is, “What is blocking my joy and peace in Christ?”

May the Lord Jesus speak to each one of you so that you may experience afresh his peace in a shaken world.

In Jesus the Overcomer,

+Neil

The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese