I have often wondered what it would have been like to be in the room when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after his resurrection. It is clear, and completely understandable, that the disciples were filled with fear and anxiety. Witnessing, at least from a distance, the horrific treatment Jesus had received, I’m sure they worried that they, by association, might be next. Who would not be fearful?
In the midst of this anxious place, and with the doors locked, Jesus appears. And the first words out of Jesus’ mouth are, “Peace be with you.” Of all the things that Jesus could have said, like “Don’t worry, it’s me,” or “Fear not, I’m here now, everything is going to be okay,” Jesus chooses to reiterate the message that he had shared with the disciples before his resurrection: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John14:27).
It is clear that the peace Jesus is bringing, is not the type of peace that is the opposite of war, or even peace-of-mind, but rather a deep peace that only Jesus can bring. A peace that resides in the same place as hope, love and faith. It is the peace that Paul will later write about in his letter to the Philippians, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
For many, particularly those who did not live the horrors of the wars of the 20th century, the world feels like it has less peace than ever before. Yet for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, the world is hungry for the peace Jesus consistently brought to those who he came into contact with. Our call is to first ground ourselves in that peace and then to, as the deacon sends us forth at the end of the service, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!”
“May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones.
Let it allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”
– Mother Teresa