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In his life, Jesus was constantly wishing that peace would rest upon people.  He wished it upon his disciples, and he asked them to wish it upon their community.  His reassurance to his disciples that “peace be with you,” during his resurrection appearances, may be part of what prepared them to receive God’s unique Spirit at Pentecost, and is the foundation of our Pentecost season theme, “Peace Be with You.” 

It’s striking to me that, for a man who so constantly wished for people to be at peace, he lived a life that was anything but peaceful. A homeless, often hungry wanderer, who regularly called people out on their choices and was ultimately arrested and killed for being a criminal does not sound like a very peaceful lifestyle to me.  And not only did he live this life, but he expected (and expects?) those who follow him to be ready to live it, too.  Not necessarily in the exact same forms of homelessness and ultimate self-sacrifice, but in ways that are often chaotic and unpredictable – moving with his Spirit, and keeping pace.

This doesn’t sound peaceful to me, either.  When I imagine peace, I imagine a still pond in a forest or breathing deep the salty air of the restful ocean waves.  I don’t imagine a loud, rushing wind, bringing fire that lands on people who then begin talking all at once.  Yet… this was the birth of the Church.  Messy, chaotic, and clumsy.

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble, or
hard work, it means to be in the
midst of those things and
still be calm in your heart.

Perhaps, as the above quote suggests, what Jesus was wishing on people wasn’t a life free from chaos, but a heart free from it.  Jesus went into all kinds of chaotic places and met with many unpeaceful people.  If we are to follow him as disciples, we have to expect that we will be called into these places, too.  The Church was born out of a swirling storm and a rush of movement, so perhaps that is supposed to be the nature of the Church – after all, it’s the nature of the Spirit that bore it!  The life of a Christian and the Christian Church, then, isn’t guaranteed to be nothing but peaceful.  Instead, we are to live as those equipped to walk into the midst of chaos and stand as a reminder that God’s peace is in all places at all times, waiting to be seen, to calm the storm.

It’s not a easy call for Jesus’ disciples, or for our gathered communities of the Church. We’ll lose our sense of peace from time to time; and we’ll forget how to exemplify God’s peace to others.  But, we have a God of grace.  Which is why we can have a heart that is at peace.  How will you allow the Peace of Christ to enter into your heart and live through your life in this season?

Peace in the Grace of Christ Be with You,

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