January 9 – Peace
Read: Galatians 5:22-26
Galatians 5:22 reminds us that peace is a byproduct of divine love, the very work the Holy Spirit labors toward. This is a miracle, and nothing short of participation in the very nature of God. We often speak of the “fruits” of the Spirit, yet in the Greek, “fruit” is singular. In our day and age we have lost sight of the inherently destructive and labor-intensive process of “sowing and reaping.” Now, wanting fruit, we simply walk into a store, pay, and walk out with it. In the ancient world it was not so. Sowing happened in its season; the hands of people and the legs of animals tore at the earth. Even children helped by scattering seed. God brought the rain, the sun, the life. After months of stewardship—patient waiting, pruning, weeding and guarding from pests and predators—the first fruits would come. Then, the fruit would swell and bloom, filling the field. Harvest was hard work, but also a time of celebration!
We should expect nothing less from seeking peace. You cannot walk into a store and buy peace. It is like farming: a journey, a process. There are no shortcuts. It is a dirty, messy affair involving broken skin, calluses and lots of waiting. It will require God’s grace to provide spiritual water and light and to bring life, but also people who want peace badly enough to get their own hands dirty. We as a church must be in tune with the seasons, and be willing to rip the ground and toss the seeds with our own hands. Vineyards do not happen by accident! Peace requires both God and humans to work together spreading life where once was only dust and weeds. We cannot expect to “reap peace” and taste its fruit at harvest if we are not planting—in love—its seeds today.
Look at the tags on your clothing for their countries of origin and pray Christ’s peace for the people who live there, especially the hands that labored to make them.