“The war is over”, these words were spoken in a controlled rather than a jubilant manner.
The words bounced off the walls of the underground bunker, appeared to hang in the air above the men’s heads, and finally crashed into the consciousness of the Miners who were enjoying a meal break 800 meters below the surface of a hard rock mine in the remote, mineral rich area of the West Coast of Tasmania.
Taffy, the crew roustabout, had spoken these words during an in depth discussion with his 3 workmates, Charlie, Vic and Luke.
These 4 were more than work colleagues, having worked underground in several mines, always as a dedicated crew and having experienced the entire gamut of working underground in a hostile dangerous environment. Their collective experiences had fused their personalities into a deep sincere impregnable relationship underlined by openness and honesty.
On this particular night at 04:00 Taffy’s gnarled hands were resting on a large print version of a “Gideon Bible” that had been placed into their underground lunch room some time ago.
Taffy had found this book during one of his clean ups and as all 4 men and their families attended the same church it was not unusual for them to be involved in deep discussions ranging from sport to politics and their personal faith journeys.
As Taffy spoke these words his head was bowed as he concentrated on the words before him, his 3 friends were all startled but not surprised by his exclamation and all wondered if this was one of Taff’s famous wind ups.
“What war would that be?” asked Vic as he was primed for a good debate which he saw as a welcome diversion.
“Well, I’m still sorting this one out but I thought you blokes would be interested” Taffy replied, without looking up and with an ever increasing furrow on his brow.
“Sure thing mate, and don’t you be getting your knickers in a knot as we are here to solve your problems, past, present and future” said Charlie who was well known as the joker in the pack.
Luke was sitting back with a huge grin on his face enjoying the usual good natured banter of his friends whom he loved dearly, as it was these men who had rescued him 10 years ago from an underground cave in.
“Ok gentlemen, pin your ears back and prepare to be enlightened” began Taffy.
“You know that every Christmas we are coerced into the “Christmas spirit” by the words from Luke’s Gospel, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men from Luke 2:14”.
“And what me dear chap is wrong with that” interrupted Charlie as he already sensed this would be one of the easier issues to be debated.
Vic and Luke said nothing as they knew that Taffy was leading up to something that usually had an element of surprise with a challenge attached.
“I believe that the peace the angels were singing about was not peace among men. It was peace between God and man because when you look at look at Jesus’ words in Mt. 10:34, He says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace , but a sword”, it also talks about family conflict”, said Taffy.
“You know what Taff” said Luke, “I have always just taken for granted that what the angels said meant peace among men but maybe you are onto something”.
Both Vic and a subdued Charlie nodded in agreement but Charlie was a bit uncomfortable with this line of thought.
“Hang on, hang on” urged Charlie, “Don’t you agree that the Gospel has changed many hearts resulting in peace among men?”
“You are quite right Charles”, replied Vic, in a tone that always injected calm into their discussions, “but I also believe that the angels were rejoicing that the war between God and man was over”, he asked for the bible that Taffy was reading and turned to Isaiah 40:2.
Listen to this prophecy from Isaiah he continued, “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is over, that her iniquity is pardoned”.
The 4 Miners continued their discussion and had resolved that Jesus bore our punishment so that we could be reconciled to God. This peace came through the blood sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and that God isn’t angry anymore, praise His Holy name.
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