Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
In John 14:27 we are given a great promise by Jesus, sadly a promise that we ignore. Jesus promises to give his peace to his people, not the kind of peace that the world gives, but a divine peace. They should not let their hearts be troubled. Why? Because they have God’s peace with them.
The increasing secularization of some parts of the West have also been filled with increasing strife and anger. To this bush league analyst, the anger seems to be rooted in an insecurity. “Our world is falling apart, it isn’t working the way we want it to, we want to have love and peace, but it isn’t where we expected to find it. It’s threatened, so we’re going to scream profanities and break things.” It seems to me that the people who would like to be known as being all about tolerance, love, and peace are the exact same people who threaten violence against others who are not like them, especially against Christians.
Some Christians have, at times, responded with anger, or at least frustration. That isn’t the right response. What did Jesus promise? He promised the peace of God. This is a peace which passes all understanding. It is able to guard us from fear. It has proven able to keep the Chrsitian saints and martyrs over the ages. It has enabled many to go fearlessly with the message of the Gospel to warring factions, to tribes of headhunters, to the sickbeds of people suffering from plagues, and to lay down their lives in countless other ways.
Why can we do this? It’s because in God’s peace our hearts are not troubled.
My thoughts may be troubled by the evils all around me. They should be. My actions may be changed because of knowledge of risks and dangers. That’s fine. But my heart cannot be troubled if it is kept in Christ’s peace.
This is perplexing to those who have been taught that Christianity is about power, oppression, bigotry, and hostility. They don’t know what to do when they encounter the love of God. They may be mistrustful. We can understand it. They may be frustrated to find that people they thought were no different are, in fact, different because of the work of the God they were taught was an illusion. They may scream. They may threaten violence. They may break things, including our bodies. But they cannot shake the peace of God, though they try.
How does the Christian respond? Come, you frustrated, anxious, troubled people. The peace of God is there for you as well. Trust that Jesus is the one who sends the Holy Spirit, who works forgiveness, who breaks down the alienation between you and God, and who gives life and immortality. Receive the peace of God which passes all understanding. It is for you as well.
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