Monday, April 14, 2008
This week in the ongoing series of the next 7 words of Christ that we're doing at our church we move on to "Peace Be With You!" What is peace? What is the peace that Jesus is talking about in John 20? It has to be more than just a greeting of Shalom. It has to be more than a hey I'm back! What is peace for you? I love this book (The Peace Book) by Todd Parr that I shared in slideshow format in worship today. Here's a version for you to enjoy online.
I often think of peace as a calm, a break, a get-away-from the rat race, my children's melt-down or my own personal freak out. The peace that Jesus is talking about isn't just the momentary absence of stress, anxiety, hardship, suffering, war, or other crappy stuff. It's the presence of the fullness of God - God's love, God's power, God's grace and community in and with us in those moments - good and bad, hard and easy, challenging and empowering. The Jesus who offers that peace is marked with scars from the crucifixion. He's both old and familiar and radically new and different. He's present in the extreme pain and suffering of the cross and the radically freeing joy and liberation of the empty tomb. Peace - the peace that Jesus is talking about - is a center from which we live our lives...it's not a momentary feeling, but the foundation upon which we build and from which we live, learning in increasing spiritual maturity to recognize that God is present, that God's peace is with us, all around us and inviting us to new life in every moment, working to transform the division, destruction and decay we know into wholeness, new life and freedom that we long for. It's an invitation to a "zen-like" way of living, not denying hardship, but seeing a larger picture, finding strength in the solidarity of God's presence and the liberating encouragement of life in Christian Community.
Where do you find peace?