Investing His Peace

by Jared Holsing

It’s 7:15am and my early morning coffee is either already starting to wear off or not yet kicking in. It’s hard to tell. I’m bi-vocational, splitting my time between being an assistant pastor at a suburban church in metro Washington D.C. and providing advanced English tutoring to economists at the International Monetary Fund, the organization charged with securing the stability of the global economy. As I roll out of bed each morning, I plant one foot firmly in the world and the other in the church. This morning I am taking a few minutes to read Scripture and pray, sitting in the 12th floor lounge of the IMF.

My tired eyes are squinting at the sight of the sun rising over the dome of the Capitol and the rooftop of the White House, three blocks from here. The sun rises new each morning, bringing with it new light, new energy, new possibilities. I can’t help but think of the Resurrection. What must the two women in the garden that first Easter Sunday morning have thought as their tired eyes took in the sight of an angel in the entrance to the tomb saying, “He is not here, he has risen!”?

He has risen. Staring out of a window of the IMF, watching the sun rise over my nation’s capital, those words echo in my mind. Not necessarily as a triumphant proclamation at first, but rather as something of a question. Not questioning the reality, but the relevance. Not, did it happen, but in what sense does it matter?

I have shared an elevator with the Managing Director of the IMF. It’s in interesting feeling to exchange a smile with the woman recently gracing the cover of Newsweek magazine with the title, “The Trillion Dollar Woman.” In a very real sense, she and her team of economists are given the task of fixing a frighteningly broken world. An economist and a pastor... are we not partners in the same task? A trillion dollar woman and a spirit-filled man?

The sun rising. Challenges facing the world. A global economic crisis. A small suburban church. Pastors, economists, doctors, teachers, politicians, parents, friends - and over all of us, a risen Savior.

As an English teacher, I reflect on how much verb tense matters. Past tense verbs tell us what is already true. Present tense verbs explain our actions. Future tense verbs anticipate what is yet to come. He rose. He reigns. He will return. To me that means that death is defeated; the task of setting the world to rights is underway; He who started a good work will complete it.

N.T. Wright often speaks of God’s mission in terms of “putting the world to rights.” Our world, full of irresponsibility, greed, power, lust, and violence, is desperately in need of restoration. I cannot help but feel that each step I take, and each of the two communities in which I spend my days, are pointed, somehow, in the same direction. Restoring an advanced economy like Greece, on the verge of collapse, or restoring the life of a sinner newly aware of the grace of God through Christ seem somehow in harmony. Austerity and confession, grace and bailouts, recovery and transformation. Putting the world to rights.

What difference does the Resurrection make?

The Resurrection puts hope and history in harmony.

The Resurrection signals that the creator triumphs over the destroyer and vindicates the victims.

The Resurrection tells us that we are not destined to simply escape the decay of this world but to do something about it.

Jesus could have risen from the grave and ascended immediately to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. But he didn’t. He walked north to Galilee. His resurrection life was first lived out right here in our messy world. Clean feet on a dusty trail.

The Resurrection points our feet towards God’s future - not only the distant future in a far-off place and time, but to what our world can become. Rather than running from destruction, we stand in His power to build peace. We do this first in the dark solitude of our own bed before the alarm goes off, waking up to the presence of God in the private recesses of our own troubled hearts where we accept His reconciling words of peace, forgiveness, and love. We do this with those we see first thing in the morning, as we allow the fruit of His Spirit to flow out in gracious love towards others. We do this as we put on the uniform of our chosen profession and pour out the gifts and talents God has given us to serve others. We do this as we encounter violence, poverty, corruption, conflict and injustice, and chose to follow Jesus by laying down our lives for friends and strangers alike. We do this as we lift our voice in the public square of towns, states, nations, and the world to speak words of truth and life, verbally laying out the path of peace and inviting any and all to walk with us.

In what sense does the Resurrection matter?

The Resurrection means that sinners transformed by the grace and power of the Spirit of God can live out that new life, in advance, in this world. It means that when Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” he intended us to spend, not hoard, that peace. We are to take that coin of peace and invest it in this world, so that when He comes back he will receive a hundredfold return on his investment in us.

In the beginning, God created a garden. When Jesus ascended to heaven, that garden was still overgrown with the weeds of strife, oppression, poverty, and injustice. When He returns, may He find us gathering a harvest of peace.

 

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