December 18, 2019
Reflections on John Lennon, Mark Beardsley and Jesus Christ
The anniversary of the death of John Lennon just passed. As you recall, Lennon was killed by a deeply troubled young man with a gun on the streets of New York, December 8, 1980 (nearly 40 years ago... hard to believe). Among the remembrances of Lennon I saw posted on social media was this remarkably insightful quote of his:
“Peace is not something you wish for: it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”
Growing up in Sherman, Texas, I had a friend named Mark Beardsley. Mark was a few years older than I was and a popular football player – you may recall that in youth, those things made a real difference in terms of social status and mutual interest in being friends. But as unlikely as it may have been, friends we were and friends we continued to be until his death just a few days ago.
In later years, Mark became a very quiet person, humble and unassuming, and to those who did not know him, he likely would not have stood out as unique in any regard. But when I read the Lennon quote, the first name that sprung to mind was Mark Beardsley. Through his quiet humility and his compassion for others, Mark created peace, he exhibited peace, and whenever I was around him, he gave peace to me.
I think you know where I’m going with this. Jesus Christ was born into the world to bring the example of peace, to bless the peacemakers, and to help us understand that we must not sit back and wait for peace, but actively create peace. For me, this humble message of peace is a parallel to Mark’s humble example of peace. Humble but powerful.
Within our world, within our country, within our church, there are chords of strife, of division, of self-centeredness. At TMF, we believe that being a peacemaker, that being a steward of the world’s potential for peace, is achieved through grace, through sacrifice, through servanthood, and through providing peace to others. We have a choice to participate in the grace freely given to us. We are free to act out of light rather than darkness.
In fact, peace and gratitude and thanksgiving may be taken as acts of defiance when the world would suggest a different response. Jesus entered the human story in all its brokenness and showed God’s glory in a vulnerable infant child. When we are living examples of God’s love and grace, as Mark was for me, then God is embodied in us. Around the edges, under the cover of ordinary life, the bright light of Bethlehem shines.
Blessed are the peacemakers! Immanuel!