Looking for peace in all the wrong places

This morning I was saddened, but not all that surprised to learn of a disturbing trend in our society,

According to a The Washington Post, “A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this month finds that the rate of alcohol use disorder, or what’s colloquially known as “alcoholism,” rose by a shocking 49 percent in the first decade of the 2000s. One in eight American adults, or 12.7 percent of the U.S. population, now meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, according to the study.”

Wow.

Even more disturbing, in adults under thirty years of age, the rate climbs to one in four.

Again, Wow.

A lot of us are looking for peace in all the wrong places.

Contrast that with the promise of Scripture, which promises of a peace “that passes all understanding.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not always easy.  I don’t suggest that, when faced with life’s very real stressors, all you have to do is pick up your Bible, sit back and relax, and let the peace overflow.

After all, this week’s news has been dominated with stories about thermonuclear war being a real possibility.

I get it.

On the other hand, reaching for relaxation, renewal, respite, – peace – in the form of a a stiff drink ( or a smoke, or a pill, or a snort, or a sniff) – well, it seems that has become way too easy and way too habitual for way too many people.

It also suggests to me that the Church needs to do a much better job of reaching out to those, inside and outside our sanctuary walls, who are struggling to find peace that way.

Let’s start with prayer and with a discerning, open attitude.  Let’s start with compassion rather than self-righteous judgement.  Let’s start with an invitation to come and hear about another way – another Way – named Jesus.

Wouldn’t it be great if one day we could publish a study of our own – one that proclaims an increase in the number of people who find a life of faith is the way to lasting peace?

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