“Let There Be Peace on Earth”
The popular Christmas hymn was written by husband-and-wife songwriting duo Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller as a simple reminder to be the change you want to see in the world: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
The Millers wrote the tune in California during a mountain retreat with a diverse group of teens, but Jill was inspired a decade earlier after emerging from a dark period in her life. She explained to NPR’s Humankind:
“When I attempted suicide [in 1944] and I didn’t succeed, I knew for the first time unconditional love – which God is. You are totally loved, totally accepted, just the way you are. At that moment I was not allowed to die, and something happened to me, which is very difficult to explain. I had an eternal moment of truth, in which I knew I was loved, and I knew I was here for a purpose.” (Songfacts.com)
“Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.”
We recognize that real peace doesn’t come from nations ceasing their conflicts or from scientists finding a cure for cancer, cholesterol or Covid. As you see from the words to the song, Jill Jackson Miller found peace in a relationship with God. At a very dark place in her life, it was only the peace of God that truly brought her peace.
2020 has been a challenging year (to put it nicely). Everyone has been touched in some way by the Covid-19 virus. I think that an SCBI pastor Jeff Spencer summed up our feelings with a FaceBook post on Saturday, November 29 when he wrote “When will it end?” Jeff’s question comes from the fact that this year his beloved wife Darlene, died due to the Covid virus. Then on November 29, his son died due to complications related to Covid. “When will it end?”
You can sense the weariness and overwhelming spirit in Jeff’s question. I see it often in so many of you. OH, No one is ready to give up or quit, but we are tired of this year and ready for things to move forward and to get this behind us.
We are battling this invisible enemy because we have the peace of God that the song talks about and that we desire for our world to experience. We see people every day that are living outside of that peace because the Spirit of God does not reside in them. Phil 4:7, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is what we lean on, this peace of GOD.
This is such a great year for us to share the peace of God with people who live without hope, without the inner strength and purpose of Jesus and without “PEACE.”
We are a Great Commission People
For us as believers in Jesus who have chosen to work together through the Southern Baptist Convention of churches in Indiana, it is also a time to come together and give toward our work around the world through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
For us as believers in Jesus who are part of the Southern Baptist Convention of churches in Indiana, we also choose to carry out Jesus mission to take the gospel to the world. We take up a special offering every December to support our worldwide, global, mission by giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.
You can learn more about Lottie Moon here:
Your gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) go 100% to the missionaries. What you give each week through the Cooperative Program helps to pay for administrative costs of the International Mission Board, but what you give through the LMCO goes directly to the over 3000 missionaries all over the world.
Please pray for The State Convention of Baptists in Indiana missionaries who currently serve through the IMB in all parts of the world. Be encouraged that we have over a dozen missionaries in the field today telling their world about Jesus. They each have connections with SCBI churches. We can’t list their names here because of security issues, but we ask that you pray for the SCBI and IMB missionaries and that you promote this offering in your church during December and that you give to the Lottie Moon Offering.
Learn more about the 175-year-old mission of the International Mission Board here,
It is my prayer that this Christmas season would be a great time of spiritual renewal, of relational harmony and gospel advance. I pray that the Lord would bring lost people into our churches and into relationships with His people so that ultimately, people would discover the Jesus of Christmas and the salvation that can only come through a personal relationship with Him.
I want to say a huge THANKS to all of our churches who voluntarily and cooperatively have been faithful to give this year through the Cooperative Program. The work of the State Convention, the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Seminaries, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Executive Committee have been able to continue to go forward . . . . even during a historic pandemic. THANK YOU for being faithful to Jesus and HIS great commission.
From all of us here at the State Convention of Baptist in Indiana office, we want to wish all of our 447 churches a Very Merry Christmas!
Until Next Time,