Forgive those who kill and torture us, West African archbishop tells flock

We so often hear of the peace to be found through Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. This is a wonderful thing in our world where we so often hear of conflict. The peace Jesus offers is of God ”“ it is a peace beyond our understanding. It is a peace of body, mind and spirit. It is a peace that we can hold on to even during troubled times. It is a peace that comes when we become aware of the presence of God in our lives….

Such peace and joy invariably come at a cost. It is not that suffering brings peace and joy; but suffering can lead to a depth of relationship with God, whom we turn to in time of trouble. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples. The gospel according to John tells us, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with doors locked ”¦.. , Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” (John 20: 19 and 20)

Jesus’ greeting of peace is associated with him showing them his wounds. Peace invariably comes at a great cost. Despite the appalling cruelty he had experienced, Jesus was able to forgive his torturers and executioners. Indeed, he was able to plead with God for their forgiveness. Such forgiveness is exceptional. True forgiveness does not come easily, and does not even recall past wrongs ”“ however awful these may be. I firmly believe it comes only as a gift from God. This in turn allows the peace and joy only God can give.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology