How are we to find peace in a world ravaged by war? In a world where terrorism is an ever-looming threat? In a world where catastrophes such as the devastating earthquake in Haiti can strike at any moment?

What is this peace that is promised as a fruit of the Spirit? That Christians are promised in this tumultuous world?

God’s own overtures of peace offer the best example, for He entered His created world that had been overrun by the enmity caused by sin and offered His creation reconciliation — a way back to the edenic fellowship between man and God.

Note that He was not the cause of the problem, but He offered the solution. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We must be proactive in finding resolution to conflict, regardless of who is in the wrong.

We must also find balance in understanding that any peace on this earth will be imperfect, and must be achieved among turmoil. Right now, people around the world are overwhelmed by the devastation in Haiti, wishing they could do more, but we must not be so overwhelmed that we don’t do what we can, while recognizing that it is not enough and allowing that to motivate us to continue in our efforts long after it has passed from the headlines.

The peace that Christ demonstrated was not easy — it takes a constant connection with God and a commitment to doing His will.

At this time when we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech helps us to understand further the struggle and long-term commitment to achieving the peace God has promised:

…I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which …has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.

…nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. …

…I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him.

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that … there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. …

“And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.”

I still believe that we shall overcome.

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. …

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