Jesus, post resurrection, enters the upper room and proclaims “Peace be with you.” The word “peace” has different meanings depending upon context and culture. What is this peace Jesus speaks of?
The “peace” Jesus invokes is more than the absence of anxiety and fear. It’s a peace that is contrary to the ways of the world and offers healing. Anointed in the peace of Jesus we experience healing and participate with God in the healing of others, our community and in the world.
The question becomes how do I move beyond the hearing of Jesus’ words and experience the peace Jesus offers? Father Richard Rohr writes in his book, A Spring Within Us,
“To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us – and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality . . . As you surely have heard before, religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell; spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened. . . . Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.” (p.246)
The peace Jesus offers, and sends His disciples to offer to others, is a peace that is juxtaposed to the peace the world offers. It’s not the absence of war, violence, or conflict; it is the absence of injustice, hatred, and systemic evil. To move beyond hearing and experience the peace Jesus offers we need to allow the peace of Jesus to open and transform our “opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body.” Then and only then will we be able to live from the center of Christ’s “peace”. Then and only then will we be full partners with God in God’s acts of “new creation”! I look forward to seeing you in church as we seek to live the “peace” Jesus offers.