Thursday, May 15, 2008

"A Peace that is not as the world gives" Sermon by Sarah Coakley

One of our honorary degree recipients yesterday was Sarah Coakley. Here's a sermon of hers preached at the SSJE in May 2006.

‘I do not give to you as the world gives’, Jesus promises. We tend to think of peace simply as the cessation of hostilities, the ending of pain or sufferings, and we wait for it anxiously, wondering why it never comes; but that of course is the ‘wordly’ way of peace. It is hard to see, except when an unacknowledged saint so unexpectedly makes us ‘feel better’, that Christ’s transcendent peace is already given in hostilities, in pain and sufferings, here and now in the chaos and muddle and sin and physical frailty of this world. It is hard to see, in our rightful human struggles for worldly peace and justice, that even that worldly peace and justice, if we could ever attain them, would mean nothing without the unworldly peace of Christ attending and suffusing them. It is hard to remember, let alone understand, that the peace which the world cannot give is ever on offer, elusive as it may be, pressing amongst us now in the body of the saints which is the ‘church’, often most paradoxically held out to us by those in the greatest internal anguish themselves, yet enabling others simply to ‘go on’.

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