Anna (Morena Baccarin), high commander of the visitors on ABC’s V, concludes every speech she makes, regardless of the audience, with the statement, “We are of peace, always.” As it turns out, the visitors embrace censorship, value moral compromise, and stir conflict, under this banner. As I watched, though, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if that was actually true. Okay, so the show would be less exciting—a lot less exciting, but in our lives … How much better would our lives be if we really gave ourselves to living out “We are of peace, always”? This I know for sure: we have yet only seen scattered glimpses of what could be.
On the show, peace is nothing more than the rhetoric of false hope and manipulation. The visitors proclaim peace as they work to silence all resistance to their agenda either by brainwashing or annihilation of the entire human population. As we watch, the visitors pull Tyler (Logan Huffman) ever further into their web of propaganda. Anna’s assistant tells reporter Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) that “compromising one’s principles for the greater good is not a shameful act. It’s a noble one.” Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) find themselves members of a select group resisting the visitors and running for their lives because of it. Seeing all of this makes clear to viewers that “we are of peace, always” is nothing more than a hollow slogan meant to build goodwill on false pretenses. But before we speak too harshly against this brand of evil shown in V, maybe we, as Christians, should examine how well our actions match up with our beliefs (and our bumper stickers).
Peace is a hallmark of Christianity authentically lived out. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” We like having peace, freedom from conflict, the absence of inner turmoil. Most of us wish that Biblical instruction on the life of peace ended with our enjoyment of it. “Thank you, God …‘We are of peace, always.’” But the life of peace doesn’t end there. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” At this juncture, many of us give up the journey toward the life of peace and content ourselves with the rhetoric of peace. Why? While the rhetoric of peace is distant and disengaged, living in peace is active and difficult. It means more than just biting our tongues when it comes to our own conflicts. Living in peace requires us to lay aside our own ambitions and take up the causes of those in need all around us in an effort to prevent conflict, whenever possible, by meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs without a fight.
A life lived at peace with everyone is a great, high goal—worth setting and reaching. What would the next step toward reaching it look like in your life? Maybe your first step doesn’t need to take you outside of your own family, or maybe the next step on your journey will take you to the other side of the planet. Our whole world lacks and desperately needs peace, whether defined as calm in the midst of trouble or as freedom from human conflict. This need compels many of the characters on V to embrace, as many of us would, the visitors’ promise of peace, however empty it may be. If the hunger for peace reflected in our television is inspired even in part by a similar hunger in every person’s real world, real time existence, we need a generation committed to lives of peace. Will you join me in embracing the challenge? Let this be our vision and our prayer: “We are of peace, always.”