Peace be with You (April 18, 2012)

…Opening To…

Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. (N.T. Wright)

…Listening In…

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22; context)

…Filling Up…

We are celebrating the Resurrection by looking at the words of Jesus. You may recognize some of the following from my sermon from last Sunday – but I thought a refresher a few days later might be a good idea – for me as well as all of you.

The peace that Jesus brings the disciples is a standard greeting and so much more. It is a greeting like “Shalom” or “Salaam” are today. It is also an antidote for fear. Think about the disciples on that day of the Resurrection. They are afraid, confused, uncertain. And into these things, Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you.” He comes to them even though the door is barricaded. He comes to them even though three days earlier he had died an excruciating death on the cross. He comes to them even though they aren’t expecting him, even though they haven’t understood what he told them about who he is. And when Jesus gives them peace, their fear turns into joy.

But let’s not stop there: let’s go a level deeper. When the Risen Christ offers the disciples peace, he is also offering them “the abiding presence of God.” This is how a friend of mine described what “peace” means to her, and I adore her definition. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict. Peace is “the abiding presence of God.” Peace happens when we tune ourselves to God’s abiding presence. Peace happens when we resonate with God’s movement in our lives. Peace happens when we discover the inner serenity that God provides in the midst of the maelstrom of activity that marks our lives today.

And “Peace” is also a mission, which is why Jesus sends the disciples out with Peace on his lips and his breath filling their lungs. As the spiritual descendents of the disciples, we have the same mission. So let’s bring the peace of God into every handshake, every embrace, every nod of the head, every greeting we participate in today and everyday.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are the source of all peace in my life. Help me to breathe in your Holy Spirit and know in my deepest parts that your presence abides and I meet you wherever I might go. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you raised your Son from the dead and showed me that nothing in all of creation can separate me from your love.

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