- How do you define peace? According to your definition, is world peace possible?
- Many people say that they want world peace. Because of this desire, they oppose war. Is this the sort of peace Jesus was talking about?
- What did Jesus mean when he said that he was not giving his gift the way the world gives gifts?
- A friend told me that her cousin is in a drug rehab program. How is it even possible that her heart won’t be troubled? Why wouldn’t any normal person be afraid for this young man? What good is the peace of Christ for my friend?
- What are you afraid of? Does the peace of Christ address your fears?
Peace to soothe our bitter woes,
God in Christ on us bestows.
Jesus bought our peace with God
with his holy precious blood.
Peace in him for sinners found
is the gospel’s joyful sound.
Peace within the church still dwells
in our welcomes and farewells;
and through God’s baptismal power
peace surrounds our dying hour.
Peace be with you, full and free,
now and through eternity.
Nikolai F. S. Grundvig
- The culture is in chaos. Every morning some new battle against faith is launched by secular partisans. How is a Christian to have any peace?
- Secular activists almost always oppose entry into any war for any reason. They carry banners bearing the word “PEACE” and they shout that word in street demonstrations. What is the difference between the peace they claim to want and the peace we claim as followers of Christ?
- When Peter pulled out a sword to defend Jesus on the night he was arrested, Jesus made him put it away, and then Jesus healed the man Peter had attacked. Yet before the supper, Jesus had implied that the disciples might need swords. If we live in Christ’s peace, by what mandate do we defend ourselves against aggression? Is there a difference between personal self-defense and international self-defense?
- The hymnwriter refers to peace within the church and peace when facing death. How would you describe this peace, and how does possession of this peace from Christ affect the way you respond to injustice and evil in the world around you?
1. Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.
2. Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright.
3. Crown him the Lord of peace;
Whose pow’r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end;
And round his pierced feet
Fair flowers of Paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.
4. Crown him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time;
Creator of the rolling spheres,
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me:
Thy praise shall never, never fail
- Where in the Bible do you find an image of Christ with many crowns? (See Revelation 19:12,16) Why do you suppose one crown is not enough?
- The imagery of the “Lord of love” is that of the crucified Christ. (See Revelation 5:6-10) Why would angels be unable to bear the sight of Christ crucified? Can you bear that sight? How does it feel to know that Christ suffered so horrifically for the love of you?
- Who doesn’t long for peace? What can ever bring peace to nations? What can ever bring peace to families? What can ever give peace to tormented individuals? What might it mean to absorb wars in prayer and praise? How might that concept change the way you pray?(See Psalm 46:9, Psalm 72:5-17, Isaiah 2:4)
- Christ is God who is, who was, and who is to come? What does it mean to you in your daily time-bound life to know that Christ reigns eternally? (See Romans 8:34, 1Peter 1:12, Revelation 5:9)
- We must visualize Christ when we pray, because our physical eyes cannot see him. Is Christ crowned in glory the image you see when you pray? Does that image change the way you pray? Do you sing and make melody in your heart to Christ on his throne?
When Peace, Like a River
When peace like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows, like sea billows, roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet,
though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.
He lives – oh the bliss of this glorious thought.
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to his cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend;
Even so it is well with my soul.
By Horatio G Spafford
- Have you ever been blindsided by a shocking event – such as being called into your supervisor’s office a half hour before closing for the announcement you have been laid off, even though 24 hours earlier you were told your performance was the highest in your department? How did you feel?
- The hymnwriter compares sorrows to ocean waves, which can knock you down and roll you over, even on a beach playground. What does the hymnwriter do when he is knocked down? What do you do?
- What does the hymnwriter think will control his reaction to the troubles that have rocked his world?
- What sort of intervention does the writer ask God to make on his behalf? Or does the writer think something has already been done for him? If so, what?
- In order to look forward with confidence, what does the writer look forward to?
- Can you write a prayer that only praises God as a response to something in your life that troubles you?
- Two Songs From the Great Chicago Fire (ellenvanvrankenmiller.wordpress.com)