Sunday, August 25, 2019

Full of Grace and Truth

Read John 1

And the word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.  The Greek word is σκηνόω (skay-no'-o).  You might think that you missed that part in the gospel.  You didn’t.  Words have changed over the past two thousand years and somewhat in translations.

The word became flesh and tabernacled among us.  You probably have not seen tabernacles used as a verb in most of your readings, but that’s what happened.

For the Christian, Jesus did more than pitch a tent.  He came to dwell with us as his Father dwelt in him.  It’s more than just claiming a camp site and making sure that your satellite television antennae is set up right.  It’s about intimacy between the Creator of the universe and us.  He is with us and within us.

We have been talking about truth for a few weeks and we come to this wonderful pericope about grace and truth.   The gospel author notes that Jesus came in glory that could only belong to the one and only Son of the God who sent him.

He came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  Grace and truth have a nice ring to them but in actuality may seem to be opposed to each other.
Let’s look at truth.

We know God is the Creator of all things.  He has the right to make the rules.  He has authority to reward and to punish.  He is eternal and not swayed by man’s thoughts about what is right. 

We miss the mark on a recurring basis.  Truth says that we deserve punishment.  We deserve punishment. 

Truth says that we do not have a passing grade.  Truth says that we did not live up to expectations and requirements.

Truth is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow.  Had Jesus come only in truth, our pucker factor might have been off the charts.

But he came from the Father full of grace and truth.  I have earned nothing as far as right standing with God goes, but he loves me more than I can comprehend. 

I have missed the mark so many times, but Jesus tells me that he took care of that.

John wrote that the law came through Moses but grace comes through Jesus Christ.  Both are from God and essential to our relationship with the Almighty. 

We know that we have all fallen short of the glory of God.  We know that.  I don’t know anyone here who thinks otherwise.  We have all fallen short, but that is not the end of the story.

In some cases, realizing that we missed the mark is truly our beginning. Having eyes to see that:   We can’t fix it.  We can’t mend it.  We can’t make it like it was.

But God can.  David, a man that sought after God perhaps more than others noted in the Old Testament, knew that he was broken.  He knew that he could not fix his own brokenness.

David had done many great things in the Lord’s name.  David was a warrior’s warrior.  David was a poet and musician.  David brought a broken kingdom together.  David had many accomplishments to his credit but he could not cleanse himself of his transgressions.

Sure, there were sacrifices required by the law but David pleaded with the Lord to create in him a clean heart.  Create in me a clean heart.

David knew the truth.  He had sinned against God and his fellow man.  He had lived in the favor of God and God had richly blessed him but now, he had thrown all of that away.  God had done so much for him; yet he gave in to his selfish nature.

But David had some insight that we could all learn from.  He sought to be made right again.  He pleaded with God, he petitioned God, to create in him a clean heart.

Truth said, “You blew it.  You threw it all away.”

Grace said, “Let’s move forward after I put you back together.”

Truth brings us to the cross.  Grace leads us to life.

Truth brings us to confession.  Grace says, I have already forgiven you.

Truth shows us our acts of omission.  Grace tells us, there is still time so long as it is called today.

Truth examines our history.  Grace leads us to eternity.

Both truth and grace came in one package.  The only human flesh to have lived in God’s heavenly presence who was in fact God in the flesh, came in grace and truth.

We love the grace part, but sometimes we avoid the truth. 

We live in a world of idolatry.  We don’t want to admit it, but we have more idols than Rome or Greece or Asia Minor had two thousand years ago.  

They come in the form of star athletes, our favorite teams, movie stars, and even in shows named America Idol and all of its spinoffs.  We adorn our homes and our cars with posters and stickers and license plates.

We covet like no other nation in no other time.  It’s not so much that our neighbor has something, it’s that the world has something and I want one.
God is seldom first.  We work him in after ourselves and our kids and the things we just have to have.

We often do not worship in Spirit and in Truth.  More and more, we look at our phones during worship.  Are we bored with this He is worthy stuff?

Sometimes it seems easier to throw some money at somebody’s problem instead of speaking the truth in love.  How many times do we forget that to come to salvation we first repented of our sin and then rejoiced in the good news.

I’m not going to go on.  We could be here a long time.  When you get home, look in the mirror and ask the man or woman in the mirror who is first in your life.  Do a fearless and searching inventory of your life.  Anyone who has been through a 12 Steps program knows this as step 4:  Conduct a searching and fearless moral inventory.

You don’t have to be an addict to conduct this inventory, but if we did a searching and fearless inventory instead of the surface level look we give ourselves day-to-day, what would we find?

And here is what I can say with confidence to every one of you.  God still loves you.  In spite of everything that truth revealed to you, grace has yet embraced you.

The mercy of God is more than we can fathom.

The love of God is more than we can comprehend.

The grace of God that we know in Christ Jesus goes far beyond any sin that the truth has revealed to us.  We need the truth to receive God’s grace.  If we do not have eyes to see that we have fallen short of the glory of God, why would anyone believe they need the grace of God.

The western world today is so afraid of offending someone that God’s truth has been glossed over if not outright set aside.  Why do we need grace if the world says that however we live is just fine?

There is a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln that goes like this.

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?
Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.

We who seek to follow Christ must stand in and live in the truth of God every moment of every day.  We are not going to get everything right, but knowing God’s way and seeking it are essential to our well being.

Remember, God told his own people, I’m giving you these directives for your own good.  The law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ Jesus.

We need to know where we stand with God.  The law helps, but the truth that came with Christ is what prepares us to receive his grace and continue to live in his grace.

The law without Christ was incomplete.  Jesus came to complete the law, not so that we could be condemned but so we could finally live.  Jesus completed the law.

Truth and grace came in one package.  His light shone in the darkness and the world did not comprehend it but that same dark world cannot overcome it.

We are a mess.  We who follow Christ know that we are a mess.  We have the truth.  We can’t fix our condition.

But the truth also introduces us to grace, favor from God that has always been there but which we could not see before the truth set us free.

God has never stopped loving us.  He will never stop loving us.  We are his and he wants to keep us close to him for all eternity.  Where we are weak, his strength is even more visible.

We are saved by grace.  To which everyone says, “Amen!”  But we already knew that.  Couldn’t you save this verse for Christmas.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Merry Christmas!

We know this but are we conversant in what we know.  Can we, without condemning another person, explain the truth to them, and lead them to the grace of God that we know in Christ Jesus?
Can we do that?

If we are following Jesus, we need to be people of truth and grace.  We need to help people understand that we all have fallen short of God’s glory.

We all have fallen short but he loves us anyway.  If we can’t speak the truth, why would people think they need Christ?  The world has convinced them otherwise.

Jesus showed us the glory of the Father.  He came in grace and truth.  We are to live in grace and truth.  We should not be afraid of the truth for it prepares us for God’s grace.

Again, you say, we know this.

So again, I say, share this.

This is our message that leads people to Christ.  Let us live as people not only of grace but of truth.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

His Light and Truth lead us to Worship

Read Psalm 43

Do you ever have that mental and spiritual wrestling match when you know you are doing what God has called you to do and you get backlash?  You just wish that God would throw a lightning bolt or two at some selected targets.  Maybe we already have a target list ready to go.

Do you ever just wrestle with thoughts of why isn’t God doing something?  Did he not get my memos?

Most of the time I don’t have time to jump in the fray of online Christian discussions which usually end up in arguments, but sometimes, I start them.
Never in my life have I had 10,000 hits on a post until I posted that I had broken the vending machine.  Most of those 10,000 had the mean face along with many hateful comments.  I’m thinking that we are people of God and he is not all about stuff and transactions but about blessing and transformation. 

I even noted a post that said, “Buy a new vending machine.”  I actually knew that person.  The recurring message was bring back transactional and kick transformation to the curb.  Get in line with the world was heart of the salvos launched my way.

The first salvo was motivation for me to write three more posts and eventually publish a short book noting how the people being most deprived by the vending machine model were the body of Christ as we distanced ourselves from connecting with those who need help in our communities by just throwing stuff and money their way.

In the course of all of this, I had some thoughts along the lines of several of the psalms.  God, those people need some smotin’.  I didn’t spend much prayer time in search of smotin’ but the thoughts crossed my mind from time to time.

I’m thinking, I could sure use an Ezekiel and the prophets of  Baal moment.  Enough for that.

I hope that you have noticed that we take many opportunities in our ministries to reduce the transactional and increase the transformational.  We are about making personal connections.  We use stuff—school supplies, candy, and electric bills to make contact, but it’s not about the crayons.

Yes, it’s wonderful to bless people, but these physical blessings without words of life are just the crayons.  Soon they will be used up.

We look at a scholarly or contemplative psalm.  We are looking at a psalm that likely was attached to its predecessor as a single psalm for a time. We are looking at a psalm that was probably not written by David and may have even had its basis in the period of and after the exile.

But we see and hear a psalm that perhaps we have lived.  We see and hear struggle in this psalm.  The struggle between a godly person and an ungodly world on one hand and the struggle within ourselves wondering if God will affirm us as we seek him and his righteousness.

The psalmist cries out, “Vindicate me, O God.”  He asked God to take up his cause against the ungodly.  Rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. 

At the end of the beatitudes, Jesus told all who were present and through the written word, all of us, that we are blessed when we are persecuted for his name.  When the world sees Jesus in us instead of a reflection of itself and starts tearing us down then we know we are blessed.  We will have reward in heaven and we can count ourselves in good company as the prophets were attacked in the same way.

But our nature says, “That sound great, but God would you smote a couple of these yahoos now just for good measure?”

God, you are my stronghold.  Why have you rejected me?

Why do you leave me this way?

But in a stroke of divine genius, the psalmist petitions God to send forth his light and his truth, not to do some smoting of enemies, but to guide him to a place of worship.

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me.
Let them bring me to Your holy mountain,
to Your dwelling place.

In the middle of this psalm comes the heart of resolving our struggles.  Let your light and your truth—God’s light and his truth—bring me to you.  Your truth will bring me to worship you.

The psalmist leaves the battlefield of vindication that consumed him so much for the victory of worship.

The psalmist leaves the things that have left his soul so downcast and receives the hope of the Lord and praises God as Savior.

God’s light and his truth will lead us to worship and praise and manifest hope within us.

There may still be a lot of folks out there that need some smotin’ but that’s not my monkey and not my circus any more.  I am not the one to condemn when Jesus came to save.

I will follow God’s truth and his light to the place where he dwells.  His light and his truth lead me to worship.

Jesus said if you walk in the light, you won’t stumble.
Jesus said he is the light of the world.
Jesus told us that we are the light of the world.

The psalmist petitions God:

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me.
Let them bring me to Your holy mountain,
to Your dwelling place.

Today, I tell you that the light and the truth have come.  We know them as Jesus.  We should reflect his light into this world.  We are to bring his truth to this world.

More than that, his light and his truth bring us to praise and worship our Lord.  We are on a mission from God to take his love into the world, but first his light and his truth bring us to praise his name and worship him.
First, we worship.

Both Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 end the same way.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Both psalms wrap up with a summation of our internal struggle and its resolution. 

Our purpose here is not to give God a list of targets that need smotin’.  We are to let God’s light and truth spur us on to hope and praise and acknowledgement of our risen Savior.  They lead us to worship.

We are not going to defeat all of our accusers on our own.  God will fight for us but he does not need our battleplan or target list.

He has set a table before us in the presence of our enemies and his light and his truth bring us to worship him.

His light and his truth bring us to worship.

If you are wrestling with something inside of you, stop fighting the battle with the weapons of the world.  Walk in God’s light and seek his truth.  Your victory comes in worshiping and praising God in the midst of the world’s turmoil.

The psalmist petitions, Lord, send forth your light and your truth and let them guide me.

I tell you that he has fulfilled this request.  We just need to walk in the light and seek his truth and we will respond in praise and worship.

Our topic for a few weeks is truth.  We understand that Jesus is light and the darkness cannot overcome him, so let’s think about truth.  Consider this thought in the week ahead.

Truth leads us to worship.

We worship here together and we worship with our very lives in everything we do when we go back into the world.

Truth leads to worship.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

What is Truth?

Almost 50 years ago, a man by the name of Johnny Cash wrote a song by the name of What is Truth.  One of the lines in the song is Can you blame the voice of youth for asking what is truth?  The song’s final line is You had better help the voice of youth find what is truth.

For the most part, that didn’t happen.  Following a decade—the Sixties—of rebelling against everything, people started embracing just about anything.  Today, we live in an age of apathy and ambivalence.  We would rather fix the blame instead of the problem.

We don’t care or we think one thing is as good as another are the thoughts that define this age. We can be offended or outraged by so many things that our lives say we don’t really care about, but it’s what we do.

Good old-fashioned civil conversation is a lost art.  It seems that we can’t have discussion without argument and vitriolic volleys of replies.  Facts are elusive and almost always disputed. 

George Orwell nailed it when he said that History ended in 1936.  He was referring to the Spanish Civil War in which large numbers of causalities went unreported and elsewhere great battles were reported where no blood had been shed.

It was the beginning of an age of propaganda.  We are in the ninth decade of this age.  Social media has put this age on steroids.  Whether your social and political leanings are left, right, or centrist, you can likely find a media source that will include, exclude, or otherwise paint the news with your preferred bias.  The truth is hard to come by these days.

You can find programs, posts, more programs, and persuasive propaganda that appeal to your version of Christianity.  There is no shortage of information promoting itself as the truth.  You can find people claiming to be Christians simply because they are Americans. 

You can find Christians who will tell you that one religion is as good as another.  What’s the big deal about Jesus being the way?

I remember helping Fredrick when we hosted him for a few days.  He had come from African for a month and only had one place to preach.  He gave me some of his Facebook contracts that he said were preachers and pastors, and I helped him find his next venue.

One of these pastors promoted that there was only Jesus.  He proclaimed that there was no Father and no Holy Spirit.  He had a large following.  I told Fredrick that he should just scratch this one from his prospect list.
Think back to the Johnny Cash song.

Yeah, the ones that you're calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world's wakin' to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it'll be their way

The Man in Black was prophetic in more ways than one.  My generation and those that have followed have let the truth slip away.  This current generation is perhaps the most gullible of modern times.
What are we to do?

We could be like Solomon as he began his writings in Ecclesiastes.  Meaningless, Meaningless, it’s all meaningless—at least that was his hook for the rest of the book.

We could just throw in the towel.  How do you recover from living in an age that has lost touch with truth and reality?

We must return to the one true God.  That’s going to mean that we will break some ties with the world of deception in which we live.

We must commit to following Jesus and knowing the word of God.  We must put more of those words into practice than ever before.

James tried to awaken his fellow Hebrew followers of Christ.  Hey!  Get this and get it straight.  God is not and never was in the deception business. 

Every good gift is from him.  He is the originator of everything good.

While we may go through trials, God will never tempt us with evil.  If we wrestle with evil, we are either up against demonic forces or we have invited evil into our lives by seeking and giving into our own selfish desires.
It is the latter of these two that we contend with most often.

The world as we know it in this age is configured to appeal to and to gratify our selfish desires.  The world does not want us to know the truth.  The world wants intimacy with us but the world can only give us a transactional relationship.

God wants us not only to know the truth but to live in it.  James puts it this way.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

We are born of God out of this world of deception.  God’s word delivers us from this world.  His word that is Jesus and his word that does not return void deliver us.
The truth delivers us.

We are first fruits.  That tells us that there is a greater harvest to follow.  We should not give up on those who have sold out to the world.  While the world is lost and blinded to the truth, we have words of life that will set so many free.

Born again is a common term for most Christians.  We are born of the Spirit, of water, of blood.  James says we are born through the word of God.

What does that mean for us?

God wants you with him.  He has given us his holy word.  He has given us the only sacrifice that could truly remove our sins.  He has given us the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a Spirit that now lives within us as Counselor and Comforter.

God has given us eyes to see the truth in a world governed by deception and propaganda.

But we must seek his kingdom and his righteousness before anything else.  We must desire not only with our minds but with our hearts to live his way.

We must hunger for and read his holy word.  It should be the mainstay of our daily conversations.  We should talk about it with our children, when we get up and when we go to bed, when we are out on the job or sitting at home, and we should post some reminders of what God’s word says.

We should remember that God gave his word to his chosen people for their own good.  It’s good for us too.

We must do more than sing, I have decided to follow Jesus.  We must commit to following him.

We must live as people of love.
We must live as people of faith.
We must live as people of hope.

We must set aside our own understanding—so much of which comes from this world that does not know God—and trust him fully, with everything we have.

Last Sunday, I said something, I affirmed something that I think most already knew.  I don’t think it was breaking news to anyone.  We are not of this world.  We do not belong to this world.  We belong to God.

We know God through Christ Jesus and through his Spirit that lives within us. 

God chose us to know him and to love him and to serve him.  He chose us.  He loves us with an everlasting love. 

We are born out of this world into God’s kingdom by the word of God and we need to convey this to the youth of this land by our word and deed.

Where deception in word and speech seem to prevail, our lives must convey the truth.

When self-gratification seems to be the order of the day, the example of our lives must convey love for one another.

In a world of acrimony and argument, we must bypass the fray and speak the truth.  We are not commissioned to win arguments but to win souls.

We must teach the truth that is the word of God that brings us to salvation in Christ Jesus.  Most of that is done person to person.  Most respond to personal invitation. 

Here is the truth that is tough for many of us to swallow.  Our commission is not about inviting people to church.  It’s about inviting people to know salvation in Jesus Christ.  It’s about helping those who receive him, know him.  We can call this part discipleship.

We have the word of God.  We are born out of this world.  We are made holy before God by his truth and we are sent back into this world with his message of love.

We are the first fruits of this harvest.  Take heart, more will come out of this world that has been deceived.  We must not be discouraged.

More will receive the word of truth.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Sanctify them by the Truth

For those who are wondering where we have been over the last decade or so, I have preached 6 years from the lectionary (12 years could include the entire Bible), 1 year topically exhorting the Confession of Faith, 1 year with Paul’s letters, 1 year in the Parables of Jesus, and the most recent 2 years applied a topical approach. 

Topics have been:  Love, Love & Action, Peace, Rest, Faith, and currently Hope.  We will finish this church year (through November) with Truth and Mercy.  As we continue into Church Year 2020, we will address the topics of Repentance, the Kingdom of God, Grace, and Life.   I will maintain my streak of preaching the Parable of the Talents at least twice each year, and will have a message or series on Living in Response to God’s Grace. 

Don’t forget that in March 2020 we will study the Book of James on Sundays and Wednesdays and hopefully be talking about it on the days in between.

We will of course, make adjustments for VBS and campers.  By that I mean that the message for those Sundays will be tied to something our youth learned during the preceding week.

All of this said, remember the message is not your meal for the week.  It should spur you on to love one another, give you a hunger to search God’s word more, and prompt you to put the words of God that you know into practice.

That’s where we’ve been and where we are going.  This morning, we begin the topic of truth and we begin with a prayer that Jesus gave in his last days with his disciples before he was crucified.

This prayer follows an explanation of what is to come.  Scattering, grief, joy and so much more.  Then Jesus gives his disciples these words.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

He prayed for his disciples, not that they be taken out of the world, but that by the name of Jesus, they be protected as they accomplish their mission.
He prayed that even though the world hates them, they will know the full measure of joy that Christ did as he did the will of his Father.

Jesus notes that his disciples are not part of this world.  Think to the church.  The church is made up of people called out of the world, set apart from the world to be made holy, and sent back into the world with the gospel.

He prayed that his Father will sanctify them by the truth.  Sanctify is to set apart and make holy.  We are made holy not by some ritual but by the truth.

The word in the original text for truth is alétheia (al-ay'-thi-a).  It means truth but not just truth as the opposite of a lie.  Consider the full meaning of the original word.

Truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.

The truth that Jesus speaks of is reality.  For some, that may be a paradigm shift.  What Jesus says is not some lofty goal.  It is reality as defined by the one who created reality.

What does that say about what the world presents as truth?  So much of it is deception.

We are set apart from the world by the truth.  The truth comes through the word. It’s interesting that the Greek word here is Logos.  This is the word that we find in the beginning of John’s gospel that we understand to be Jesus, as nothing that was made was made except through him.

It also means the words themselves but unlike common words these are of divine utterance—every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
So how are we sanctified?  By Jesus and by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  We are different than the world.

We not only believe God’s word, we are shaped, transformed, and configured into the likeness of Christ Jesus by God’s word.

We are transformed by the truth.

We cannot be transformed while we remain in the world’s deception.  Paul wrote that the god of this age has blinded unbelievers.  They do not have the truth.

We do and if we will put the words of our Master into practice, we will be transformed and sanctified.  We will not be a part of this world but dwell in our Master and he in us.

Isn’t that what we say we want?  Don’t we say we want to be like Jesus?  But if sin is still governing our lives, if the world’s model is our model, if we believe the lies, then the truth is not in us.

As we begin this topic of truth, let us ask ourselves, do we want the truth?  Are we comfortable the way that we are?

I think of the movie A Few Good Men and Jack Nicholson belting out, “You can’t handle the truth!”

We can’t dabble in the truth.  It’s an all or nothing deal.  And if we are all in on the truth, it will change us.  It will sanctify us.  It will make us more like Jesus.

We are not part of this world any longer.  It owned us once but not anymore and so we must embrace the truth that can come only from God.

His word and his law are good for us.

His grace exceeds any sin we have committed.

His Spirit dwells within us.

But somehow, we miss the truth time and again.  Which brings us to the Moody Blues, well at least to Nights in White Satin. 

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I've written
Never meaning to send
Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say any more
'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

Just what the truth is, I can’t say any more.  Love—romantic love—sometimes blinds us to the truth.

Ambition sometimes blinds us to the truth.

The desire for uniqueness or the other extreme—the desire to fit in—sometimes blind us to the truth.

The god of this age has blinded unbelievers to the truth, but sometimes we blind ourselves to the truth.

Once upon a time, we saw the world in black and white.  We may have been right or we may have been wrong, but we were sure about so many things.  Then life happened.  There was love and ambition and desires for so many things of this world, many of them good things but they became first in our lives and in the process,  we found so many gray areas.

“Yeah, I know what God says about this but…”

The truth gave way to our truth.  God’s truth gave way to our version of God’s truth.  Just what the truth is, I can’t say any more.

Except, that I can say what the truth is.  It may disturb our comfort zones.  It may affirm us in our difficulties.  It may sound like a foreign language if we have been away from it for too long.

The truth is that God is love and God loves us.

He has good plans for us.

His word and his law are good for us.

His grace exceeds any sin we have committed.

His Spirit dwells within us.

We have spent some time on faith, hope, and love and many think, “Man, I wish I lived that way, but I have to live in the real world.”

Today, I tell you that what God has to say is the real world.  This upside-down mess that claims to be reality is as real as a reality TV show.
You want to see reality TV, video you kid’s baseball game then pan the stands.  That latter part is reality TV.

Jesus prayed that his Father would sanctify his disciples by the truth.  What is it to be sanctified?  It is to be set apart and made holy before God. 
We do not belong to this world.

This world does not define our reality.

We are to bring the world to Jesus.  Jesus prayed that through his disciples, the world would come to know the Father.

Remember where we started.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

So what is our reality?

Is it the trouble of the world and the world’s coping mechanisms?

Or is it the peace that we have in Jesus?  Will we receive the truth that comes from God which is reality?

What do we choose, trouble or truth?

I pray we choose truth.  I pray that we receive peace in Jesus.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

The truth is in Jesus.  The truth is Jesus.  The truth not only sets us free but gives us peace.