Text: Isaiah 57:21,”There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.”
This is a saying I heard often, growing up in the war. Usually it was mother declaring that there was just one thing after another going on and it must be her fault. “There is no peace for the wicked.” She, of course, was not to be blamed, but what with the bombing and unruly children, it was easy to sense her frustration. Today as people respond to the restrictions of Covid-19, I notice the same frustration. What next indeed awaits all of us in the future? There seems to be little peace or tranquility in our daily lives!
1. Peace in the World!
As we look at the world today we see that the pandemic knows no boundaries. Conflicts and unrest are taking second place to the fear of disease. The prophet Isaiah had been looking at his world, with its threat of invasion. The people of his time were turning away from the Lord. He said, v. 18 ,”I have seen their ways but I will heal them.” No one is to blame for the virus, although people should act sensibly. This is the time to hold up our world in prayer. From the old Evening Prayer service, we pray this petition, “Give peace in our time, O Lord.” As Christians we have a responsibility to invoke God's healing on our fractured world.
2. Peace in the Church!
Psalm 122: 6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you.”
Do you think about this when you try to come to terms with no church services, no hymns, no full communion, as at this moment? It is indeed a time to search the soul and see if the Church has been at fault in some odd way! The Good News Bible softens the text by saying, “There is no safety for sinners.” We might say that church people are surely not wicked, but we have to admit that all of us are sinners. After all at each service there is place for confession and absolution! But is the state of the Church truly bad? Is it, as Isaiah says in verse 20 “...like the tossing sea that cannot keep still?” We would like to say, “I hope not!” There should be peace and safety in the fellowship of the church! Each of us, individually are called to live like Jesus, the Jesus who died for our sins and wickedness, who also healed people and was called the Prince of Peace.
3. Peace in our hearts!
“There is no peace for the wicked.” Yes, as the people of God, we have to admit that wrong doing, wrong thoughts, etc., do not bring us personally peace with God. The pandemic forcibly reminds us of our own fragility as Christians. We are called to seek, serve and follow Christ in the world, in the church and in our daily lives. On our own we can never find peace or forgiveness. But we are not alone. Jesus who called God Father, taught us to repent and turn to God. The Lord wants to heal his people. God promises peace, deeply felt peace to those who come to Him in faith.
I know at this time it seems we are facing one problem after another. It is easy to blame oneself! Take heart, because Isaiah also says in verse 19, “I offer peace to all, both near and far! I will heal my people.” The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.