PASTORAL LETTER FROM REV. JOSEPH TEMBO : 5th AUGUST 2020

Peace, Peace, Peace

We followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are a people who have been gifted with peace by the Almighty God.

It all begins at the arrival of Jesus – at his birth, in the words of a great crowd of the angels from heaven, by which they praise God in the Bible book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 13-14. In verse 14 the angels said:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favours!’

As Jesus spoke to prepare his disciples for his death, resurrection, return to God the Father, the sending of the Holy Spirit from heaven from the Day of Pentecost, and his return for us in that popular reading of the Bible book of John 14; and in the verse 27 Jesus said:

‘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.’

Prior to this time in the Bible, Jesus taught the crowds of people on the mountainside in Matthew 5 that the truly blessed are those who make peace; and finally, in the Bible letter of Paul the apostle in Galatians chapter 5 and verses 22-23, Paul teaches that the life of the followers of Jesus consists of peace, among other characteristics of the evidence of one’s life as a Christian. Therefore, we read:

‘22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’

This peace is not just the calm and serenity we have about our knowledge of the fact that as those in Jesus Christ, judgement that leads to punishment has for us passed – we will not be subject to this kind of judgement because it fell on Jesus on the cross on behalf of all who call to him for salvation. Hallelujah!

This peace is also that gift of Jesus that helps us to keep our heads during and after troubles in our lives. It is by this peace that we can, with Horatio Gates Spafford (1828-1888), sing ‘It is well with my soul”.

Not only that, but this peace is the peace by which we live cordially with brothers and sister in Christ, with our families, with our neighbours and with strangers. It is while we are in active relationships with others that the fruit of the Spirit that Paul teaches about in Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23 becomes visible – that it is given its tangibility. Actually, there is a very encouraging word in one of the greatest books on Christian teaching in the Bible that urges us to make peace with others in the current active relationship.

The other people may even be people we have just literally met at, say, McCathys Farm Shop, with whom we are in the current active relationship, but that relationship is strained and needs peace. That encouraging word is in Paul’s letter, namely Romans chapter 12 verse 18:

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’

As Christians, we do not go about looking for trouble. We do not delight in troubles; and troublemaking is not part of our calling, gifting or way of life. Nevertheless, we do get troubled by circumstances and by people, but in all these situations, we have been given an ocean of peace by the living God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, in these difficult and uncertain times of daily changes regarding life in the world; what you can and cannot do, where you can and cannot go:

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Amen

Revd. Joseph Tembo

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