People of God: return!
You are called to be God’s own.
From the mountains announce the good news.
God comes in justice and peace,
to all who follow his ways.
You are God’s children.
Lord, make us one in the peace of Christ
today and for ever.
Lord, make us one in the peace of Christ today and for ever.
‘Today,’ I think, we understand. But ‘for ever’ is a very long time, extending far beyond what we can possibly imagine. How on earth dare we hope to live in peace for ever? My wife and I have been together for a quarter of a century. Of course, it would be a nonsense to claim that every moment has been harmonious; and yet, our relationship testifies to the reality that we have chosen to live in peace, not enmity. The peace of Christ—the flourishing that Jesus has made possible by overcoming all that opposes such flourishing—is not simply a given (though it is that) but something we must choose to return to, again and again, today, every day, for ever. Moreover, the peace of Christ includes the very possibility of such a return at all: ‘Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God has come near!’