Thomas Merton writes, “Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. He is not at peace with himself, because he is not at peace with God.” Peace involves harmony, being able to live with people from diverse backgrounds. Within the fellowship of believers, peace means working for unity. Peace should rule our relationships. Unity is not uniformity. We have different personalities and different gifts. These are necessary for us to accomplish all that God has for us to do.
We need to learn to accept our differences (as long as those differences are within God's established patterns). Peace will come from using our differing gifts to work together for God and not when we use our gifts to wage combat with each other. We all have a role to play in God's kingdom. It is high time we realized that we MUST work together in order to accomplish all of the work the Lord has for us.
I can only do so much, you can only do so much, but together we can do so much more. It is amazing how in God's kingdom, working together doesn't just double the productivity, it grow is exponentially!
Do I have to agree with everything that someone else believes in order to work (ecumenically) with them? Of course not. There are fundamentals that must be agreed upon--for example that Jesus is Lord, but in the non-essentials, there must be more tolerance. I wore a robe last night for our ecumenical service not because I wanted to, but because it was what was expected by the people from the other congregations that were attending (OK and expected by some of my own congregational members!) Did wearing a robe make a difference? To me, no. To others in attendance, yes. That is what I mean by tolerance in non-essentials.
If we truly want to see peace in our towns and churches there is only one place for it to start. As the song says, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." So, are you ready and willing to work for peace today? If you are not willing to work for peace, I can guarantee you this--you won't find it!
Jesus said in John 14:27, “My peace I give to you.” Don't you think it is time to take Him up on his offer?