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Creating Ripples

Peace be with you
Acts 3:13-15,17-19; Psalm 4:2,4,7-9; I John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48

Sermon Week Third Sunday of Easter Cycle B

Scripture Summary Luke 24:36

A London newspaper once reported the fascinating story of a middle-aged man who regained his sight after being blind since infancy. The man, of course, had not remembered the visual images he had seen as a baby. But, in his blindness, he had formed some fascinating perceptions about how things looked. For example, he thought that most people were tall and slender. He imagined that the few who were not were shaped like bottles. But the most striking notion he had formed over his years of sightlessness was, as he put it, "That all human faces looked peaceful."

Indeed, what that blind man felt in his innocence should have been so. Surely, it is reasonable to believe that human faces are meant by God to look peaceful.

You may not consider yourself a Scripture scholar, but you probably know the Old Testament word for "peace": the beautiful Hebrew word, "shalom." In the Bible, the word means so much in terms of human fulfillment that there is nothing better you could wish for another person. The New Testament word for peace? If you know anyone named "Irene," then you know the Greek word for "peace." It is spelled the same as Irene in English, although it is pronounced differently. Nevertheless, it carries into the New Testament all the fullness of the Old Testament meaning and more.

The word peace in the Bible -- Shalom/Irene -- whether the Hebrew or the Greek, carries not only our English connotation (the absence of warfare, the lack of discord and confusion) but also a very positive meaning. Usually, when we speak of peace on earth, we have in mind what one woman thought when she placed an inscription on her late husband's tombstone:

May he rest in peace. Until we meet again.

Individually, these are good statements, but together they don't sound quite right. But wars come and go with such regularity that the two statements coming together may be an honest representation of what the word "peace" has come to mean. (The war is over. Until we meet again.) In any case, it means [...]

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