Part of the Story

My daughter was “reading” through our copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible stopping every so often and asking me a question. When she got to the end, she saw the words, “To be continued…” and was confused. She had seen the words in other books and knew it meant there were books where the story continued. Was there another Bible with more Bible stories? She told me she had hoped there were more Bible stories.

She was pretty disappointed when I told her the Bible was God’s story of all he has done to save us and there is only one Bible. But I then explained “To be continued…” means God is still writing his story of all he is doing.

“And you are part of this story.”

Her eyes lit up and a smile emerged from the confusion.

“Your growing belief and love for Jesus is part of the story that God will tell for all eternity…You know how we have talked about heaven and being with Jesus forever?…Well, there will be another book and your story of all God has done in you and through you will be in that book…You will be featured in that book.

“Really?! Coooool.”

It is cool.

The Path of Peace Is A Violent One

(This is part five of a series of posts: onetwothree, four.)

I want a peaceful soul.

And after thinking about it, maybe peace does not look like anything particular. Or better, it looks like all things reconciled. No friction between any two things. And maybe this is why Jesus is the picture of peace itself. One so at peace with himself, with God, with the Universe itself and with people – it would make sense that he would be peace personified. He created us. He is the one we rebelled against from tree to tree. He is the One in Whom we gain peace with God, the Father. No wonder he is called our Peace, the Prince of Peace and consistently bids us peace.

So, as I watch this Jesus – this man of peace, I see the need for peace in four particular spheres of my life that spill out onto the banks of everywhere else.

Peace with God.


Peace with others.


Peace with the Universe.


Peace with myself.

None will come without a fight. In fact, I assume the path to a peaceful soul is a violent one. There are no frictionless relations. The Universe has yet to bend to my will fully though I fancy a center place. And I know full well my own battle-ready self. No, the shores of a soul at peace must know the waves will crash again and again.

Is there a bulwark hardy enough to withstand the relentless pulsing sea of war on my soul? Yes. And it wields it’s strength in a story. Not a formula. But a story, where I come in late but am found in nonetheless.

Nonetheless. And knowing this is the beginning of the very peace I am after.

Louis Armstrong, Miss Marple and Jesus: What Does A Peaceful Soul Look Like?

                                                                 Christ in the Storm – Rembrandt

(This is part four of a series of posts: one, two, three.)

When my children ask me what something is, a textbook definition will not do. It may take them deep into the meaning of a word or action, but they will not understand. Before the definition is meaningful, they need a picture or a story. So, like a child, before I even try to define ‘peace’ I wanna get at what it looks like first. In other words, I need a picture.

I want a peaceful soul. But I cannot seem to get there. Today I railed at my kids. Granted, I’m getting over a cold, I slept little and they had pushed that button approximately 4372 times too many. But it showed what I lacked – a soul at peace.

I am not entirely sure I know what it would look like. Or even sound like. Maybe a cross between my father and Eugene Peterson with a little Miss Marple thrown in? Maybe its the color of the sea and hues of an early spring day. Maybe it sounds like late-night Louis Armstrong. In mono.

But mostly Jesus.

All these stories I’ve grown up with and know by heart and never have noticed how at peace Jesus is throughout. He is at peace in the midst of a storm, enough to sleep. He is at peace with God, his Father, doing his will. He is at peace with his enemies even. I mean, the peace which he exudes during the Last Supper – I would have railed at Judas. And everyone else because of what is coming. The pressure would have been too much. I would have cried out in anger against the very nails whose stuff I dreamt up in the dark recesses before time was. And yet Jesus without being an emotionless stoic, is at peace while the created order conspires against him, the Creator.

Also, I never noticed how at peace he is with himself. Maybe because I never thought about such a thing. I think about myself a lot. Too much. But Jesus is at peace with himself. He is certain, fixed like a flint on his mission –  his way of doing things. I question every move I make. Sometimes for years on end. Arguing with myself – justifying myself even as I accuse myself.

You do it too.

I never noticed how much Jesus talked about peace. I never even once noticed. It’s thematic. And not just in the red letters. Throughout the NT, the Spirit of Christ through the writers seem to have ‘peace’ always at the ready as a subject. Of the NT literature only 1 John has no mention of peace. This tells me something – it is not silly to want a peaceful soul. If the soul is so serious a thing as to be told I should not want to trade the world for it and peace is thematic for the Christian life…then I just may be onto something.

Maybe this is not a divergence but an insurgence into the very heart of God, himself. Maybe this is what we were meant to pursue. And perhaps the strangeness of it is calling us to see how we have not cared for such a thing as we ought.