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Jason Soroski

Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.

Peace on earth.  Doesn’t that sound nice? Can you imagine a world that is . . . peaceful? 

At the core of our beings, this is what we all deeply long for.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone everywhere could just find a way to live in peace with one another?

Of course it would. Yet in this world,  it is so unattainable. Just check your news feed to see evidence of that.

So how is it that these angels speak of ‘peace on earth, good will to men’ in a world that only seems to be getting more and more out of control?

In the midst of the American Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lamented this lack of peace in his poem, Christmas Bells. He writes of a nation torn apart, angry, and filled with bitter rage.  He writes of a nation where the church bells still ring, but wondering if it would ever find peace again.

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At the start of the war, in 1861, Longfellow’s wife died in a tragic house fire, when her flammable dress caught fire. Longfellow unsuccessfully attempted to save her, receiving severe burns on his hands and face. It is speculated that the literal and figurative scarring from this event is what caused him to grow a beard in his later years.

In 1863 his son Charley ran off to join the Union army, entering the war against his father’s wishes as he did not want any other family lost.  Longfellow soon received word that his son was wounded by a bullet, and faced possible paralysis (he ultimately survived with no further concerns). 

In this poem, which has since been set to music and has become a beloved song with several different versions, Longfellow states that in spite of this beautiful promise of Scripture, there does not truly seem to be any peace on earth, especially in the midst of war. One of the verses which is rarely sung, deals directly with the cannon fire and destruction of that raging war:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Image courtesy:
©Getty images

It doesn’t take much to see that in this mad world of ours, hate continues to be strong. Hate continues to mock.

Hate has found its way into everything we do.

Hate drives our thoughts and reactions towards others.

Hate has even found a way into our cars.  We can’t drive to the grocery store without exchanging some amount of road rage hatred with someone we probably don’t even know.

Hate has found its way into our homes, our jobs, our relationships.

Hate is indeed strong, and openly mocks the song of peace on earth.

Yet, isn’t that what Satan has always done? Hasn’t he always worked to make a mockery of all that is good, and right and pure? 

Hasn’t he always assaulted all that is Godly and peaceful?

Yet, there is hope, and Longfellow ends his poem reflecting on that hope and peace:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

This is what we believe.

We believe that we live as strangers on this earth.

We believe that we are citizens of a Kingdom where there is nothing but peace, and we are doing our best to live out that citizenship in a fallen chaotic world.

We believe that the struggles of this life are not all that there is.

We believe that through Christ, Creation will be restored.

We believe that Faith and Hope and Love and Good Will can once and for all triumph over evil, and that there will indeed be Peace on Earth.

Christmas matters, and I pray that this year we will seek the peace that only Christ can offer, and listen for the Heavenly bells of peace ringing around us.

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Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34

Man, are we are into Kingdom building and tomorrow worrying, but culture makes it easy to build the wrong kingdoms and worry about the wrong things. We work to build our own personal kingdoms based on our own accomplishments, and we fight tooth and nail to build political kingdoms thinking that if we just get the right president this time, all of our problems will finally be solved and our worries erased! Most of us honestly want what is good, right, and just and honestly think politics can get us there.

Yet it doesn’t take much to realize the futility in this. Looking at our presidents over the last few decades:

Nixon/Ford – R

Carter – D

Reagan/Bush 41 – R

Clinton – D

Bush 43 – R

Obama – D

Trump – R

R – D – R – D – R – D – R- and so on and so on.

We basically pick one side, realize this didn’t fulfill all our wildest dreams, and then we try out the other side with the same result. Maybe that is because what we are seeking is found . . . elsewhere.

The Bible makes promises of justice, peace, unity and joy, and we all generally want these things and we quote these things. Yet the reason we don’t have them is that we keep trying to find them in the wrong places.

The biggest issues in our world can be boiled down to the simple mistake of only embracing half of a Biblical concept while eschewing the other half. The following exchange between Jesus and a questioning listener gives us the perfect example:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

Here is our problem: we are a quick answer people. We keep trying to skip over to the ‘Love your neighbor’ part without first embracing the ‘Love the Lord’ part. Because religion is sooooo outdated and we are sooooo enlightened now with cell phones and everything so we can just do this on our own without the God part, right?

Wrong.

Here’s the truth:

Trying to love our neighbor without first loving the Lord tends to generate the opposite effect of everyone resenting our neighbor. It leads us to hatred and endless arguing to prove our ideas are right and theirs are wrong.

Go ahead and scroll your news feed and tell me I’m wrong. How many good friends no longer have the wherewithal to love one another because someone posted a meme they didn’t like?

All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.

Loving neighbors without loving God is good intentioned, but is not love.

It leads to virtue signaling.

It leads to church members leaving communion over mask policies.

It leads to ‘unfriending’ people on facebook over politics.

It leads to cities burning, hatred spewing and vitriol destroying.

On some level it may be well intentioned, but it is clearly has no marks of love.

Which is why we as believers do well to start the day not with social justice, but Biblical justice. Not reading the news, but reading the Word of God. We do well to engage with God before we engage with others. We do well to surrender our heart, soul, mind and strength to Him for His uses and His glory instead of failing within our own and ending the day frustrated.

The Kingdom of God is at work among us, and as we view ourselves as contributors to His Kingdom we will see it change the way we view and love those around us. This is what will ultimately change the world and the lives around us.

Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.

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“Segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we all have in Christ Jesus.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Unless you live under a rock, you are aware that our nation is burning. Literally.

I have spent some of the morning praying for our nation and the people in it.

Not necessarily praying that our nation 'would turn back to God', but more specifically that the churches of our nation would turn back to God. That we as believers would submit fully to his leading, that we would seek the face of the one who alone can save, that we would bow in humility and beg God to work in us and through us to speak His truth of Justice to a sick and dying world.

I pray that a mighty revival will occur among us that will reveal Christ and Christ alone as the one that can heal a nations and families one soul at a time.

There are some who mock the idea of prayer - that it is just an impotent superstition that changes nothing.

Yet the greatest civil rights leader heavily promoted the idea.

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing"

MARTIN LUTHER KING

Whenever there is racial discord, it is inevitable that Martin Luther King will be quoted. Over the last week this has certainly been the case. As we seek justice, as we seek equality, his name stands out as the great leader who spent a lifetime fighting that battle the right way.

And winning it.

What we so often forget is that King was a seminary graduate and a Pastor at a local church. Everything he did was grounded in the world view of Christianity. So why do we think we can quote King, emulate King, admire King, and somehow separate the man from his faith - the very thing that made him the man he was? The very thing that drove him to know what was good and what was evil and how to act upon it?

You see, the founding fathers were influenced by the Bible.  The concept of the imago dei (image of God) is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected.  And this gives everyone a uniqueness, a worth, a dignity, and we must never forget this as a nation.  There are no gradations in the image of God.  Every man from a treble white to a bass black are significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because everyone is made in the image of God.”



THE AMERICAN DREAM, MARTIN LUTHER KING (1964)

The most famous protest led by King was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. To protest segregated seating on the buses, King's protest involved...simply not riding the buses. This led to a Supreme Court ruling in 1956 desegregating buses. King's non-violent boycott based in his approach of faith, prayer, perseverance, love and hope achieved a national, wide-scale, systemic change.

And isn't that what we are looking for?

Our world is on fire.

Racial injustice plagues us.

Human slavery exists in greater numbers than at any time in the history of our planet.

We are fighting a battle that we in ourselves are not equipped to win.

Trump is not your problem, nor your solution. Neither is Biden or anyone else.

Our solution, our only solution, is in Christ.

Much like George Floyd, my redeemer died an unjust death as an innocent man.

My redeemer is concerned with injustice because He himself was victim of it. But the victory came, the hope came, when he conquered the grave and offered true life to all who would seek it. In this, we find the solution to our problems. We find the grace and peace and hope to carry us forward.

Martin Luther King knew this, and his actions reflected it.

May we as believers rise up not in the same tired political jargon, nor the arguments of hate, but as the Bride of Christ, comprised of every nation, tribe and tongue, and in steadfast prayer and unity continue work of the Gospel to change hearts, minds and communities.

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Faith Gateway

Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.

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