Peace Be With You

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Peace is a foreign concept to many minds. Mostly for me it’s because I’m always trying to think 4 steps ahead when mostly that means acting 2 steps behind. When I think of peace especially during this lenten season I think of a calm almost meditation. Simply enjoying being alive for a moment. Enjoying the fact that God’s murdered Son paid for my resurrection. I think for a moment I should simply enjoy being, then a text messages is sent, a phone rings, coffee needs to be made and thoughts come flooding in like the dam I set up to stop them never stood a chance. This week along with preparing for Holy Week I’ve been reflecting a lot on the events that transpired in Rwanda 20 years ago.

20 years ago, what can only be described as a horrible tragedy unfolded in a tiny country and no one thought it would survive. People went after each other with machetes and other deadly weaponry trying to completely eradicate a people group. This was done with no regard to the physical emotional or eternal consequences that would occur. Amazingly, by God’s grace this was not the end of their story. This country 20 years later has taught me more about forgiveness than I believe anyone has or could have since Jesus on the cross. There was no peace for those 100 days, there was no peace as people were murdered in the streets and in their homes. Even now peace is hard to come by, but people who admitted their wrongs are now going back to the families that survived and asking for pardon and forgiveness. Not only are they asking but they are also receiving holy pardon from the families they destroyed. One of the themes of many movies in our culture is revenge, often audiences cheer when the good guy gets his vindication against the bad guy. But in real life Rwanda the victims of these atrocities aren’t seeking to be vindicated with blood but seeking peace. I hope these events don’t just mark history but mark my heart.

I confess that this lent I have failed in what I set out to do. Taking time to intentionally create sacred space everyday, to read scripture everyday. Yet as Holy Week approaches I am reminded that Jesus still rose. I am reminded this time is about preparation. Preparation for the knowing that Jesus has conquered death for us, forgiven our minor and major sins when we come to him. From the washing of feet, to the agony of the cross, to the waiting on Saturday night, to the triumph and hallelujah of Christ risen from the dead. May we take the example of Christ washing feet, the example of saints like Francis who gave up everything to live in solidarity with the poor and lepers, and other saints like the ones in Rwanda that with God’s help have forgiven the unforgivable, and live in the peace of Christ. 

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