BY T.F. STERN
President Grubbs, Madisonville Branch President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, let us know a few weeks ago that he wanted Lucy and me to give talks. As time went by I reminded him that he’d yet to assign a topic and he said he’d get back with us. Another week went by so I texted him, a gentle reminder that we’d like to know the topic.
So, last week we got a call just before the sun went down. Your topic is Seeking Peace. Before hanging up my mind latched on to a movie scene from, To Be or Not To Be, a Mel Brooks production. His character was on stage making fun of the NAZI’s occupation of Poland, two high ranking officers reading the newspaper accusing Hitler of being a monster; just as Mel Brooks, dressed as Hitler, comes through the door.
“Have you seen the papers? They’re calling me a criminal…”
His two officers inject, “…and a monster.”
“All I want is peace… Peace… Peace…
…a little piece of Poland, a little piece of France, a little piece of Portugal and Austria per chance…”
Not exactly what President Grubbs had in mind; but he laughed at my response, having seen the movie. After the phone conversation, Lucy and I watched the movie all over again; mostly so I could transcribe that scene for today’s talk.
Mankind has been seeking peace ever since Adam and Eve were separated from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden, looking for some kind of reassurance, a glimmer of hope that one day they might return to His presence.
Isaiah recorded words of encouragement many years prior to Christ’s birth…
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Handel transformed messianic prophecy into music, the Messiah; music which affords us the peace we continue to seek in our day long after the birth of our Savior. It’s difficult to read these lines without hearing the music. It brings peace to our souls.
Music serves to brighten the Christmas Season, a way to receive messages intended for the soul.
The heavens could not contain their joy, a choir of angels greeting shepherds watching over their flocks by night to announce this wonderful news as put to music.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
And so these shepherds went to Bethlehem seeking peace, the knowledge that God had not forsaken mankind, that He would indeed reach out to us and make it possible to return to him. It was no accident that the scriptures used shepherds to extend the message of hope, our being of His fold will recognize the significance of this imagery.
We learn of the Three Wise Men whose travels were difficult, not unlike our own path here in mortality, as they were led by prophecy and the star that shined both night and day. Were they not seeking peace, just as we are?
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts, we traverse far
Field and fountain
Moor and mountain
Following yonder star
Oh, star of wonder, star of might
Star with royal beauty bright
Guide us to thy perfect light
One of the more popular modern tunes, Mary Did You Know, touches our hearts and gives us a glimpse of the gospel.
“Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.
Mary, did you know….”
When reading the scriptures, looking for peace, the kind of peace that’s recognized by your spirit as it receives confirmation that only comes from the Comforter, I think of the words found in John 14:26,27.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
If we could see ourselves in this same light, much as we imagine Mary’s gaze upon her child, becoming aware that she’s looking into the face of God…how much more peace would we have during our trials here in mortality, to accept that we literally are children of our Father in Heaven?
I remember listening to a talk by Douglas Callister, Our Refined Heavenly Home, where we’re reminded of our relationship to God and how to better understand that relationship.
“If we could part the veil and observe our heavenly home, we would be impressed with the cultivated minds and hearts of those who so happily live there. I imagine that our heavenly parents are exquisitely refined. In this great gospel of emulation, one of the purposes of our earthly probation is to become like them in every conceivable way so that we may be comfortable in the presence of heavenly parentage and, in the language of Enos, see their faces “with pleasure” (Enos 1:27).”
C.S. Lewis once said, “If we could recognize who we were, we would realize that we were walking with possible gods and goddesses, whom if we could see them in all their eternal dignity and glory, we would be tempted to fall and worship.”
As you go about seeking peace, may you discover the peace you’re looking for is no further than the mirror used each morning as you greet the new day. You need to know this, just as Mary needed to understand.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.