Peace and Security

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

I was watching an old Rockford Files rerun on television the other day, it is an old private detective show. Rockford had to go into an office building to retrieve a needed file to show financial abuse of the owner of the company. He has someone set up a fake meeting so he can get into the building, it is unlocked and he has free reign, no security cameras, no security systems to disarm, free reign of the building and what he needs. When I saw this I wondered how things have become so different now. It wouldn't be believable for him to waltz in. We take security seriously even in the smallest of companies. TV shows now would know that and there would have to be an elaborate plan to even get into the building and then to get into the file room. It didn't exist back then.  So the question I have is are we really more safe and secure?

This is what the Thessalonians are struggling with, safety and security in the face of persecution. The writer tells us that this is an illusion because once they say there is peace and security is when Jesus shall return like a thief in the night. Peace and security is an illusion and yet we strive for this illusion in our own lives. Just look at all the different advertisements there are for peace and security, one for your home, another for your identity, another for cheap insurance, well you get the idea. Peace and security can be bought, but can it really?

We long for peace and security it is why, very soon when we start this Christmas rush that hope comes bursting through. We hope for something different, "peace on earth, goodwill toward all". It is not without foundation that our longing for peace and security is expressed in every Christmas hymn and joy bursts out amongst it. We tend to not look at the end of this story at this time of year, that a child was born, a child of promise, and that it lived, grew, and died on the cross.

No peace and security there except the peace and security of the promise. The promise that in resurrection death does not have the final say. The promise that we might also have to live without peace and security on this earth. The promise that radical change means changing our view of peace and security. Can we step out in faith into this kind of a struggle? Do we trust in something greater than ourselves? Can we allow hope to be born again in us, even in the face of difficulty or do we lose faith?

These are the questions that challenged Israel in Judges. These are the questions that challenged the Thessalonians. These are still the questions that challenge us. How will we choose to answer?