The Third Way
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.—Luke 2:14
The promise was there from the beginning. The prophets foretold it, the angels proclaimed it, and Jesus embodied it: peace on earth and goodwill toward everyone. Because of the birth of Jesus, we will eventually “beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.” But what about now? Most of us simply dismiss this promise of peace as either impractical idealism or an outdated, extinct appendage to the Gospel. Peacemaking just doesn’t work in our world of rising racism, global wars, and social media tantrums. Or does it?
Jesus was born into, raised up in, and killed at the hands of the most violent empire known to man. And yet, we hail Him the “prince of peace.” Why? Because He practiced the courageous and oftentimes creative task of peacemaking. He refused the age-old “fight or flight” mentality and offered the world a third way—the way of peace. Do you remember the scene in John’s gospel when the life of a defenseless woman was about to be taken? With stones in hand and a terrified woman at their feet, Jesus interrupts the plans of the self-righteous by interceding on her behalf. He didn’t sit idly by or meet the Pharisees’ viciousness with force. Rather, He placed Himself between the woman and her attackers and bore the brunt of their accusations. He met the Pharisees’ lethal force with an altogether different form of power, a power manifested in suffering love on behalf of the oppressed, which, when practiced, elevates the dignity of the downtrodden. Christ’s third way of dealing with evil is therefore not some form of negative pacifism that we can dismiss as superfluous in our attempts to meet evil with evil; it is active love and truth in the face of evil on behalf of the subjugated.
For peace to exist in our homes, communities, or nations, we have to work for it. And remember, peace isn’t necessarily the absence of conflict; rather, it is the presence of love and justice.
Sometime today, or as soon as you’re able, ask your family one of these questions:
- Does peacemaking seem practical to you? Why or why not?
- 1 Peter 3:9 says to “repay evil with blessing.” What do you think that means?
- What would peacemaking look like in our daily lives?
You’ll also want to start planning today for your time together on Saturday. Remember, this all started with Saturdays being an opportunity to slow down and enter into a different rhythm (Sabbath). This Saturday will be the culmination and reflection of all the weeks and days so far. If peace is something we have to work toward, our own homes are a great place to start. So here’s what you’ll need to begin to prepare.
Plan a meal that allows time for a longer discussion (approx. 2-3 hrs.). Below is a basic outline of how your Saturday meal/discussion time could go. (Don’t worry we will give you a more detailed plan on Saturday.)
In order for the God of peace to rule over our lives we must first put ourselves in a posture to receive His peace. Here are four key shifts you can begin to make to be in the right posture:
- Shift from hurry to being more intentional and living with hope.
- Before your meal, come up with a creative way to eliminate hurry from your family’s lives. Get some sticky notes or 3×5 cards to write down what you want to fill your life with in 2020. (More details on Saturday’s email)
- Shift from envy to more joy.
- Have this conversation over everyone’s favorite family meal.
- We’ll give you discussion questions to go over during the meal.
- Shift from indifference to love.
- Discussion over dessert. (More details on Saturday’s email)
- Remember two weeks ago when you gave away your favorite desserts? This week have everyone actually eat their favorite desserts.
- Shift from anxiety/worry to peace.
- After the meal go over the discussion questions provided in Saturday’s email.
One final thought for today.
If our true identity is rooted is Jesus, then shouldn’t our lives reflect His life of peace? To take a deeper dive into our identity in Christ, you could watch our Conversation Kit to Identity tonight or sometime this week as a family.