I walked past a house this afternoon which had on it the name ‘Peace Cottage.’ It was there proudly on the corner of the bungalow, visible through the mature shrubs on the drive. A tidy little dwelling, whispering idyllic to you.
Then, I noticed on the large garden gates, another little sign. ‘Beware of the Dog.’ And that, somehow, made the picture more realistic!
We do think of peace as something we acquire, then have to defend. It is something we can achieve by building an environment protected from the non-peace of life. And as long as we stay behind the walls, we can enjoy it.
Just like the disciples, after the crucifixion, self-locked into a room. Their leader had proved to be dangerous to the state, and after being executed, they felt very vulnerable. He kind of didn’t really help very much by refusing to be dead, and popping up regularly to see them in the days following his resurrection. Even more disturbing, though ‘Peace be With You’ tended to be his usual greeting.
Then, in the locked room, comes a presence of peace, tongues of fire over their heads, and a fundamental change in their response to living. It was a peace that equipped them to tame the wolves to which they were sent, as lambs. Because they had become lions inside.
Perhaps we should wear similar signs, or place it on the church to reflect the members. One could read ‘Peace Cottage.’ The other shouldn’t read ‘Beware of the Lions’ though, but ‘Be Aware of the Lions, They Come in Peace, Come and Get It.’