In the poetic Christmas story of the Gospel of Luke, we are told that the angels sang to the shepherds announcing “Peace on Earth, good will to all.” At the Advisors meeting last week, this verse came up in the course of the discussion. Yes, the Advisors are the ones who are responsible for the church finances, property, personnel, etc. But sometimes Christmas creeps in to things, especially at this time of year!
The brief discussion was about good will and peace. One thought is that when there is peace, there can be good will. The idea is that peace is needed for people to be able to treat one another with good will. I’ve been thinking about that. If peace is a prerequisite for good will, then we may never get to the good will.
What if good will is thought of separately from peace? Can we be people of good will with or without peace? I think we can. I think we see in Jesus someone of good will regardless of the circumstances and we are called to be like him. Jesus did not live in a time of peace. And he himself had many personal enemies who eventually succeeded in having him killed. And yet he remained a person of good will even up to forgiving the people who were responsible for his crucifixion.
I think we are called to be people of good will at all times and in all circumstances. And maybe that will contribute to the emergence of more peace in ourselves and in the world.
Can you think of a time when you responded to antagonism or hostility with love?
Prayer: We live in difficult times. Sometimes we may be afraid to reach out to others with generosity of spirit as well as wealth. Sometimes we may be afraid to pursue forgiveness and reconciliation. Sometimes we may leave the olive branch at home in a vase instead of presenting it to an “enemy.” May we free ourselves from fear by extending good will to all. Amen.