4 Rejoice[c] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.[d] 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
You might not get the same image I get in my brain. That's quite alright. Don't stone me, folks.
Here's my image:
Jesus has just healed someone's withered leg, probably on a Sunday afternoon. He puts his calloused hand on a withered legs and KAPUF (a word of my origin that gives me buttered syrup joy), the leg is whole.
Jesus lifts his old, dirty robe off the old, dirty floor of the old, dirty Palestinian home and with a smile as big as the Mediterranean Sea, he begins to dance. Not pitter patter either. Nope. He is instantly into it. Feet hopping and arms waving and hands clapping, Jesus is suddenly Michael Jackson on a swivel and a moon-walk. No Gene Kelly second-stringer here. Nope. He's full-blown Fred Astaire of Judea, laughing and even singing a Jewish tune of joy (those things do exist; really, they do).
Seriously, does it get better than that? Break it down slowly. Paul, whom we have so little accusations of laughter mongering, tells us that in Philippi he, the apostle, would lead everyone in rejoicing. Imagine it, if you will, if you can.
1. Rejoice. Be happy. Let everyone know you're happy.
2. Don't worry. Let God know you're happy, through prayer and through thanksgiving, letting God know what's going on, what's happening in your mind and your body and your soul.
3. Tell God what you need, want, desire and within limits, expect it to be given.
4. Let it go, as they say in Frozen, over and over and over and over ....
5. Peace, like fresh popcorn at an AMC theater, is the aftermath, a smell that can't be explained, a craving that does it have to be.
So, we ...
A. praise, pass the dancing please...
B. quit worrying, pass the dancing please...
C. establish the direct line to God, qet up and start the dancing please ...
6. A whopping order of peace is hand-delivered.
Come on. Seriously. Does it get better than that? It's not an unlimited bank account, but instead it's an unlimited helping of, well, everything, and the greatest of all these things is the ability to generate peace as if it were handed out in the evenings with the garbanzo beans.
I began to concentrate heavily years ago about what is this notion of peace, and why I would want it so greatly. Peace, to me, is this notion of what separates us from the opposite of peace. First, the idea that we don't have to understand peace to obtain peace is beautifully thought-out and written by Paul, given by God. We don't have to know it's there to have it, acknowledge it, call upon it.
God is peace-giving. God comes to us in the dead of, well, night, day, our actions, our thoughts, our feelings, our wants and wishes and He gives us this peace. Can we possibly explain what the peace of God is to those who have never had a dripping of it? No. Perhaps not. That's quite alright, though. God's peace is the absence not of conflict but instead it is the presence of Him. It is the overwhelming feeling that we are filled, not empty, with grace and mercy ... covered with certainty in an uncertain world.
It is wonderfully filling and satisfying.
Last night, our 11-year-old grand son who has had a very difficult summer thus far at the plate in Dixie Boys baseball, hammered a grounder at the opponents' third-baseman. The ball was hit so hard, the third-baseman was handcuffed, which is an old term that means that the successfull gloving, lifting the glove, holding on to the ball and shifting it to a trowing position was not going to happen. And it didn't. The ball adhered itself to said glove, and didn't come out, as if it were a Thanksgiving turkey on the oven tray for but 30 minutes of cook time.
You could see the pressure and gloom wash off Gabe's slender, tiny body as he reached first base and became aware that he had indeed reached first base.
Dance. Dance. Dance, his body showed a stadium sprinkled with humanity. Whew, weeeeeeee. Slump was done, at least for that moment. Peace given. Peace received.
Like a pot of water washing a dirty face, Gave was suddenly cleaned and restored by the peace (water) of God.
Here's the deal, dear readers known and unknown, God gives us the shock of our lives when that sweet, sweet peace comes over us. Today, as it gets hotter and hotter outside, turn your eyes upon Jesus, and let the living water begin its steady journey to peace. What a process we live through. We ask, God gives, we receive that which we can't explain even though we might be the best of writers (which I most assuredly am not). We praise Him. We thank Him. And peace is the gift.
Let the living, cool, peaceful water wash over us. It's Friday.
Dance, people, dance.
And let the peace of God revive us again.