A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

Guest Sermon


Elder George Lynch

December 8, 2019

John 14:27

John 16:33

What does peace mean to me? Peace can mean happiness, wholeness.  A teacher in grade school once asked John Lennon what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said “Happy.”  The teacher said that maybe John didn't understand the question.  John, being the smart aleck even then, quipped back maybe the teacher didn't understand life.

Peace can mean a lack of conflict, stress or worry.  For me, it's a place of balance, equilibrium, where I can be myself without contrivance and where I feel comfortable. I suppose it's an ideal that I strive for, wherever possible, in a week that usually sends me anything but peace.  I remember as a child thinking I can handle stress or upset anywhere as long as I have peace somewhere.  Upset at school, peace at home, upset with friends, peace at school.

This week alone I've had many intrusions into my peace.  I received a call first thing on Monday morning after coming back from my walk with Ollie from the Trauma center at SF General.  My sister Fleur had been in a horrible car accident that totaled her car and they had no idea yet of her condition.   My mind was racing immediately projecting a dozen possible scenarios with total disruption of any peace. I spent the better part of my day, hanging out at SF General with my other sister Gael waiting for results from Xrays, CAT scans, about Fleur.  She has a bruised heart from the collision. The docs want her to stay, she says no. They let her go with the promise of a dr. visit with her primary physician first thing Tuesday. The next day, my wife goes to work early like she usually does, 6 am or so, I take my sister to her regular dr., get blood work, take her home, go to work, (lets not talk about work…it's a three ring circus of chaos and I'm the ring leader), trying to find a pastor to preach so I don't have to do what I'm doing right now,  getting a call from my sibs, Fleur's back in the hospital, get home, 8pm Lyn is still working, 9pm still working, 10pm, ok I speak to her, she hopes to be home today, 11pm, 12 pm still no word, OMG I'm going to have to write a sermon, the worry machine kicks in at high gear inside my head, 1pm, I give up go to bed, wake up for no reason at 4 am…..no Lyn, what the…..where is she!!!!...5am the garage door opens and she comes home. 22 hours at work straight, no dinner, no break, no rest. She sleeps two hours, wakes up and goes to work again.

Every day is a constant siege against my desire for peace, wholeness, and happiness.  Each day a fresh new horror, sometimes several, to deal with that threatens my peace, my sense of justice, fairness, and what's right with my universe. I won't even go into what's going on in the world….Oh, forget that!!! Talk about a world gone mad. I cannot watch the news for fear that my head might truly explode and my sense of righteousness would be broken or become at least horribly mangled. So Wednesday, I hear in the news a landslide hit San Bruno near Crestmoor and kaboom, there goes my head.  I immediately I think of Bethany under 30' of mud and of course that would seriously not have surprised me.

All we are saying, is give peace a chance….sorry John, peace doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Florida here today. What can I do? There's no hope, I can't fix the world…I'm a fix it person and I can't fix the world.  Too much is broken.  I try but it's overwhelming.  It's a tidal wave of need, desperation and disaster.

What can I do? Well thank God, my peace is not only dependent on me, the news or even the world. “Not as the world giveth…give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Peace be with you! It's a greeting, but more than that it's a promise, a gift of peace, “not as the world giveth”, not something that will rust or get stolen, or totaled in a car accident; it is calm in the eye of the storm. It's an anchor in a tumultuous sea.

We don't live in a perfect little peaceful bubble. We live in a seething, swirling, active, constantly changing mess.  It can be a beautiful mess sometimes but the peace we look for is not in the constant bombardment of our senses from the media. I don't have peace because the world is peaceful; I have peace in spite of a crazy world.

I find peace in a hug from my wife. Sometimes I find it in my guitar, or from a happy, warm puppy in my lap or from hearing a story about someone doing a good deed for a stranger. Peace is from the inside, from that still quiet voice, from my bud, JC who assures us it's ok. He's got our back. Trust in Him. And you know what, I need that reminder and the reminder that I'm not going through this alone. That's why I come here, to be reminded. And also to be reminded that we are not just here for ourselves, we're here for each other too. I find assurance, strength and peace in that.

Thank you. Thank you for being here for me.  I am also here for you as well.