The Secret of Peace
How the peace of Christ is experienced in the Church
I. The Saved & the Unsaved
a.) The Coming of God's Kingdom brings peace to the world
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:6-10)
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:1)"
II. The Mission of Christ - Christ is the Peacemaker
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)
III. The Peace of God is the gift of Christ through the Holy Spirit
a.) The Holy Spirit abides in the Church - making God's Kingdom present.
"These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, that One shall teach you all things, and shall remind you of what I said to you. 27 Peace I leave to you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart continue being troubled, nor being fearful (John 14:25-27)."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (longsuffering), kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness (meekness), self-control; against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)"
IV. The Divine Liturgy is God's Kingdom on earth
• "In peace let us pray to the Lord" (4 X)
• "For the peace of God and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord."
1. The peace of God is the gift of His Kingdom.
"In the church we are given the peace of Christ, just as we are given the anointment of the Holy Spirit. Everything is given to us...For what is given must be accepted, and we are called to grow unceasingly in this gift..."the peace from above" is the kingdom of God, the ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the holy Spirit.' (Rm14:17)... The acquisition of this kingdom, this "peace from above," is also salvation of the soul. . .The first petition of the Great Litany indicates to us the ultimate, highest purpose of our life, that for which we have been created, to which we must strive and what must become for us the "one thing needful" (Fr. Schmemann, The Eucharist, p. 55)."
2. Peace in the world does not refer to a cessation of war.
"For peace in the whole world (2 X), for the stability of the holy Churches of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord."
"...that this peace of Christ may be spread over all, that the leaven , sown in the world, may leaven the whole lump (1 Co 5:6), that everyone, far and near might become participants in the kingdom of God." (Fr. Schmemann, The Eucharist, p. 55)
• "For a perfect, holy and peaceful and sinless day, let us ask the Lord." (2X)
• "For an angel of peace, a faithful guide a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord."
• "For the completion of our lives in peace and repentance, let us pray to the Lord."
• "Peace be with all." (2 X)
• "Let us stand well, let us stand in awe, let us be attentive as we make this holy offering in peace." "Let us depart in peace."
V. The Secrets of Peace
a.) Detachment from possessions
"When you are unattached to things, then you easily acquire virtue. And when you do not seek after things, you will not be mindful of wrong done to you. (Abba Zosimas)"
b.) Detachment from pride
"If you are grateful when you are dishonored, then you have already become a disciple of the holy Apostles, who would go on their way rejoicing that they were being put to shame for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41), (Abba Zosimas)."
c.) We must strongly desire the peace of Christ with all of our mind, body and soul
"Our free will is not passionate enough. If it were truly passionate, then by the grace of God everything would appear simple for our free will...a small inclination of our desire is able to attract God for our assistance. As the sacred Anthony says: ‘Virtue only requires our desire.' Or again, ‘We do not need to make a great journey in order to reach the heavenly kingdom, nor do we need to cross the sea in order to acquire virtue.' (Abba Zosimas)."
d.) The obstacle of anger
"If the Holy Spirit is peace of soul, as He is said to be and as He is in reality, and if anger is disturbance of heart, as it actually is and as it is said to be, then nothing so prevents His presence (His coming to us) in us as anger. (John Climacus, The Ladder, Step. 8)"