PEACE - Advent Week 2
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
It is a troubled and difficult time – for everyone. A virus like this hasn’t been seen for more than 100 years. It has caused more than 1.5 million deaths worldwide, and more than 17,000 here in New Jersey. It has affected every part of everyone’s life in some way. Education has changed at all levels. Employment has taken a huge hit. Restaurants and leisure businesses have closed … many forever. Unemployment across the country hit historical highs in all but three states. Families have been affected through loss, separation or some other change in family dynamics.
As a country, and in our communities, we have struggled with and argued over wearing masks, social distancing, indoor and outdoor gatherings, virus testing, contact tracing, vaccines, and more. Politics have become more volatile. Religion has become more volatile. Everyone seems to be ready to argue about something or anything.
In this climate, at this time, in this place, wherever you are, I want you to hear the words the Jesus is saying to you. “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.”
The Disciples understood what it meant to live in a troubled, difficult time that had its own set of unsettling insecurities. Then, only a few short years after they had found the Messiah, he tells them he has to leave them. But he didn’t leave them alone. He left his peace with them.
These words spoken to the Disciples are Christ’s words to us now. “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.”
We need these words – now maybe more than ever. When we live in a world that is anything but peaceful, we need to hear these words from our Lord. “I do not give as the world gives.” His peace is perfect, everlasting, and powerful. Some people may seek peace from other sources, but that kind of peace is limited and fleeting. Our peace, the Peace that comes from Christ Jesus is almighty and everlasting.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The peace of Christ and the very Spirit of God is with us. As challenging and trying as these times are, consider the plight that faced the Disciples. They had found, learned from, followed, ate and lived with God incarnate. Then Jesus, the anointed one come to save them all, revealed to them that he must leave them. What must it have felt like to have had that kind of relationship with the Lord, and then to hear him say that he must leave. If I were there, I know my heart would be troubled, and I would be afraid.
This time we are in may cause some to be troubled, and it may cause others to fear. It has definitely been a trying, difficult, and even painful year. But no matter the circumstances that assault us in the world around us, we can still live in Peace.
Because, for us, we still hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us … and in him we are not afraid.