Goodwill towards men”?
Is this what I’ve learned from world, national, state and local history?A more in-my/your-face question: is it what I have experienced -and- projected via my own life in the day-to-day?
To those paying attention to sheep and the night sky these are clearly God’s desire. But sadly, some will not bow to Him in order to receive them for they are also God’s doing.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” -Luke 2.13, 14
“…among those with whom He is pleased!” Yow. That’s a can of worms, no?
Ahhh but if there is no God, whatever. I mean literally whatever… whatever you like, however you feel, even civility like many things in which we engage or not, is a matter of personal preference and not much else.
Same goes for the Scriptures. I don’t happen to subscribe to a hardcore extreme fundamentalist or extreme reformed (Calvin-esque) or extreme Arminian understanding of The Bible. But I do believe it’s true, the Word of God and not merely a matter of human authorship -and without going into why I believe this I’m as convinced as I can be that what’s between your ears OR mine doesn’t come close to the truth, reality and indeed salvation that only Jesus Christ offers.
So do we want peace, is goodwill towards humankind- friends, foes, people like and unlike us really something we even seek?!
No doubt there are those that read my last longer paragraph above and separate from me in their viewpoints for any number of reasons. How much of our positions boil down to “what I want to believe or disbelieve”, in a word: preference? I’ve written a blog on that recently if interested.
Luke’s Gospel clearly states that the “glory” of God is paramount -but not if what you or I desire is more important to us! Honoring Him, worshiping Him is moot if you don’t believe He exists. Further, even if you profess faith in the Risen Savior Jesus if what you desire smacks up against Him (and yep, His Word) well whatever is what you actively live out in daily life. Does it bring you true, inner peace? Either way, is it building a bridge of loving relationship to God and your neighbor -or a wall? “Goodwill towards” others??
Look, I have written strident lyrics and preached plenty of tough messages, given countless rather raw interviews for most of my lifetime and have not always sounded out “peace” and “goodwill”. Certainly Paul, John, James (!), Jude, John the Baptist, indeed Jesus (note we’re not even considering the Old Testament prophets here) did not always sound like “peace”! Repentance where God calls for it is part of the issue.
Jesus Himself said “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”-Matthew 10.34-36
In fact some of the more “rock your world” statements leap out of Matthew’s Gospel. Text after text the often difficult words, convicting commands and indeed even the grace of God in Christ seem sometimes more slap than hug. I admit this openly.
Neither love nor truth simply kiss up to your personal persuasion. The issue is “What does God think about —–?”
If we humans are effectively God, I am not convinced we really want the love and peace that is only sourced in Him, His nature, His character, yes, His Words and ways.
The angels brought that amazing Advent message to illiterate, not-so-sweet-smelling, poor, “low account” shepherds when the most powerful, wealthy, highly educated people of that time and place had to wait their turn to hear the Good News. Luke tells us these sheep herders literally walked it. They acted on what the angel and multitude of heavenly hosts told them about God’s gifts of love, peace and joy in the Advent of the Christ Child.
What am I, you, willing to do in relation to God and others to connect with His love, joy, and peace?
This is what I’m pondering at the beginning of Advent 2019.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn