Peace. Peace upon all the earth. It sounds idealistic. It seems impossible.
We are often taught to ‘keep the peace’, for example:
- Don’t cause waves;
- Don’t rock the boat; and
- Don’t stir the pot.
Our broken humanity, communities and nations, and entire creation embraces the lie of false and dishonest peace. Dishonest peace proclaims that all unrest, strife, and conflict is unhealthy and devastating; thus, it must be avoided at all costs.
Perhaps, it can be connected to the notion of Pax Romina, or the Peace of Rome, which was maintained by violent suppression at the mere murmur of unrest.
But, this dishonest peace is a significant disservice to all of humanity.
This dishonest peace discourages uncomfortable, challenging but necessary, meaningful conversations.
This dishonest peace discourages the ‘Good Trouble’ caused by John Lewis, the civil rights moment, and the persons who sought and continue to seek reforms establishing equality and equity.
This dishonest peace too often maintains the status quo and its systematic injustices.
This dishonest peace too often protects the privileged while causing harm to the under-privileged.
This dishonest peace too often affords those with authority, power, and wealth opportunities at the expense of those without said authority, power, and wealth.
This is not Advent peace. This is not the peace of Christ.
This is not the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Instead, Isaiah summons us to prepare the way for the Lord, which requires honest peace.
This Isaiah text is a ‘Grand Leveling’, where those in positions of authority, power, wealth, and privilege are humbled while the under-privileged and vulnerable are lifted up.
Honest peace dispels unhealthy, devastating false peace, strife, and conflict through meaningful, respectful dialogue and action resulting in sustainable equality and equity.
In the words of Martin Luther: ‘Peace when possible. Truth at all cost’.
Martin Luther King Jr spoke about the arc of history might be long but it bends in the direction of justice.
Although ‘keeping the [dishonest] peace’ may be more comfortable and secure,
may we seek the honest peace that embraces truth and arcs towards justice through ‘Good Trouble’.