“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27
As children of God and followers of his Christ, we have access to a peace that is unlike any kind of peace the world might promise or provide. The peace of Jesus really is an inner peace that surpasses all understanding. And it’s in us. It’s best described by using the Hebrew idea of shalom: the perfect, harmonious interdependence among all the parts of creation. This kind of peace, which I believe is exactly what Jesus promises to his disciples, is never defined negatively by Jews. Peace is not the absence of trouble or hostility. It means absolute wholeness. It’s physical, psychological, mental, emotional, spiritual wholeness. Completeness. Head to toe, inside and out. Wholeness in our relationships with God and man, in our families and neighborhoods, in our jobs and recreation, with our health and finances. That’s true peace. A full, harmonious, joyful, flourishing life.
The world’s expression of peace is a wish or a longing. The peace of Christ is real and present. And we possess that peace today.
It’s not a self-satisfied peace that ignores suffering. It’s a compassionate peace that longs for God’s shalom to be present with everyone and works hard to bring that about.
Christ leaves us to be with the Father and sends us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. And that constant presence of God, that guidance and comfort, direction and conviction, allows us to be at perfect peace with our Lord and his creation any place at any time. It doesn’t matter if we’re locked in a prison cell or in a frustrating marriage, whether we’re trapped in a bad job or a sick body. Jesus promises us that we are not alone. He is continually with us by his Spirit. And the everlasting gift of his Spirit that we experience even today is peace. Perfect peace.
After winning their first two games by a combined score of 104-15, our Amarillo High School Sandies football team is ranked #6 in the state of Texas by the AP poll this week and #11 by the Harris. It’s the first time in twenty years AHS has been rated this high and everybody around here’s got a little touch of the Sandies Fever.
A true measure of the potential of this year’s team comes tonight in Wichita Falls against the Raiders of Rider High. Rider is ranked #5 in the Harris Poll and #1 in the state in PigskinPrep. They’re coming off a very impressive road win over Denton Ryan. They’ve got a running back who’s already committed to Ohio State. And they also throw the ball all over the place to five very talented receivers.
Last year’s game, here at Bivins Stadium, went down to the wire. Ryan Sluder caught a four-yard touchdown pass on fourth and goal with just over a minute to play to beat the Raiders 27-24. And Sluder has picked up right where he left off, already catching eight balls for three scores in the Sandies’ first two games this season.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually worked in Wichita Falls for six months in 1999, during our painful, but necessary, transition from Memphis sports radio to Dallas sports radio. One of my many jobs at 990AM in Wichita Falls was play-by-play for the Rider Raiders football team. So, I’m familiar with Memorial Stadium. I know what “ROHO” stands for. And I know how to spell Rhudy Maskew.
This is going to be fun.
FYI: if you’re arriving late to the game or leaving early, the Sandies and Raiders will be broadcast in Wichita Falls on 103.9 FM. 990AM bit the dust a long time ago.
Blow, Sand, Blow!