"Find Your Eirene" by Pastor A.J. Houseman
When we think about peace, we often can get many different images in our minds. I see peaceful images most notably in nature. The calm in falling snow without footprints to damage it. Or a lake in the early morning that is so still it looks like glass reflecting the sunrise.
Or we think of a baby sleeping, who looks so peaceful as they restfully sleep. (but not last night!)
All of these images of peace define peace as the absence of chaos.
Which is a way we have been kind of conditioned to think about peace.
When we think about peace in reference to society, it is in reference to the absence of war. In our common humanity over the millennia we seem to have two seasons, war and peace.
Our experiences and teachings have taught us this peace. That peace is merely the absence of violence and chaos. It's silence and stillness. It is inaction.
So I have to ask, does that sound like something Jesus would give us?
Jesus. The guy who flipped tables over to fight injustice. Jesus. They guy who spoke out publicly about injustices happening within the government and within the church polity. Jesus. Who became a wanted man because of these teachings and keep on teaching. Jesus. The guy who was willing to die to stand up for the justice of humanity.
I have a very hard time believing that Jesus was like “hey guys, I would like to leave with you the absence of war, violence, and tension before I die, so you can live passively.”
The peace Jesus gives here is Eirene, which comes from the Greek word Eiro. Eiro means to join, to tie together into a whole.
The peace that is Eirene, is God’s gift of wholeness.
That is a much different kind of peace. Peace that is wholeness.
Recently I learned on my favorite podcast that in sleep studies, they always throw out the first night of data that the patient sleeps in the lab because it’s always off.
Finally, someone decided to study that first night of sleep. This is what they learned:
They learned that the first time we sleep in a new place, our bodies go hypervigilant. And only the right side of our brain rests. They observed that the entire left hemisphere of someone’s brain stays awake when we sleep in a new place.
So… There is a totally scientific reason why you sleep poorly when you travel and sleep in a strange bed.
We only half sleep.
I think of this half sleeping as the absence of this wholeness kind of peace for us. Our brains are literally not a whole state of peace.
Wholeness. That is what Jesus wants for us.
How often in our lives do we spend weighed down by stress and anxiety? Where you feel like only half of your brain can ever rest? Yeah, I feel that.
What would it look like for you in your life to have Eirene? This wholeness?
Peace in ourselves that is wholeness is not just the absence of tension. It is the presence of love and a fulfilling life.
It’s having food on the table, a roof over our heads. Cancer free pet scans. It’s relationships with family and friends that bring joy and acceptance.
It’s healthy kids and healthy parents. It’s enough money to know you can pay your bills this month. It’s feeling safe and loved.
It’s feeling welcomed and seen as you are.
It’s the weight of the elephant off of your chest.
“Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice.” This was most notably said by Jane Addams in the 19th century. Jane is considered the mother of social work.
“Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice.”
Now THAT sounds like the peace Jesus would give to us.
Jesus lived for, died for, and taught this kind of peace.
The peace that comes from justice. Being made whole.
This peace Jesus leaves with us.
When we hear this phrase of “the absence of war and the presence of justice” we think on a societal level or a global level.
And yes, I want world peace like this too. But for right now, let’s talk about you.
What would the presence of justice look like in your life? What is the peace that Jesus is calling you to?
Do you need wholeness in your relationships? Do you need wholeness in your financial life? Do you need wholeness in your health? Your anxiety?
What peace do you need from Jesus?
In the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, I pray you find this peace of wholeness. The peace where you can rest because you are whole. Find your Eirene in Jesus. Amen.