Last winter, I was walking along Tamaki Drive in Auckland’s Eastern suburbs. I left out on a quest: to follow the sunset from St Heliers to Mission Bay. The constant change in beauty was breath taking.
You can see the picture of a couple sitting on the beach. They are surrounded by the peaceful colours of the sun setting over the North Shore. The flattened ball of light reflects toward them across the waters. It is for moments like these I enjoy walking in Auckland.
Reading Mark 1:21-28, I reflected on the topic, Peace During Troubles. Jesus was confronted with a contrary person. This person was heckling Jesus while he taught inside a place of worship. Jesus commanded this person:
‘Hold your peace’.
The opposite of peace is not war; it is the absence of fear.
Fear of the unknown robs you of your peace. I pondered the connection in the liturgy between the Gospel text and the reading from I Corinthians 8. Then I realized worshipping idols is a manifestation of fear. Devotion expressed to inanimate objects is a manifestation of fearing the unseen forces those objects represent.
In the Corinthian passage, this condition is referred to as being ‘unclean’. Our internal struggles require the power of peace. Peace is found through worship – but not worship of non-living forms.
Peace can be found in the midst of our internal struggles. Peace can be found during troublesome periods in our life. This is because you already possess peace! It is within you. Circumstances hide your peace. Look beyond your troubles and:
- Find your peace!
- Hold your peace!
- Uplift your peace!
Spoil not the calm inside of you. Be not afraid of your troubles.
I believe one of the reasons I love to walk at days end is the feeling of peace it supports. The image I bring before you is that of the Orekei Basin. Although the Basin itself is not a secret, many are not aware of its lovely trail. You can circumnavigate these still waters without the trauma of Tamaki Drive’s numerous walkers. The trail is not suitable for bikes so you can walk without constantly looking over your shoulder.
There is peace on this walk.
The trail around the Basin is equivalent to 14 flights of stairs. There are so many different angles to capture beauty. Tress in the bush; birds over the water; clouds playing in the sky: all are ready to pose for a picture. I find this a very spiritual place where worship is natural.
One particular evening last Autumn, I captured the wharf for this image. I could not help but think about how many are on a similar path. Looking for a way across unstable water, they excitedly enter on a built path. Yet the path is incomplete.
There are many paths to take through life. There are many spiritual leaders to follow. But to us, as Christians, ‘there is but one God’, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:5,6). Our God teaches us not to fear. He calls us to sound minds. When you let your mind run away to fulfill negative alternatives, you are robbing your own being of its peace. You are stealing from yourself. Stop the robbery! Hold your peace.
What is peace? It is the opposite of fear.
Where is Peace to be found? It is found in Christ.
How can you enjoy peace? The Corinthian passage emphasizes unity among Christ’s followers. Being at peace with your spiritual siblings allows individual peace to flourish. We are all connected. We are one in Christ. There is peace in Christ.