May 26, 2019: A Better Kind of Peace

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Jesus promises his disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you.” While we believe in the promises of our Lord, the concept of peace is often difficult for us to apply to our lives. This is especially true when we are bombarded daily with news of international conflict and unrest here in our own country.

Each of us probably has our own idea about what peace actually means. For one person, “peace” may simply mean the absence of war. Even a week without hearing the noise of gunfire or exploding bombs down the street from your house might give you at least a fleeting sense of peace.

For someone else, peace might be the ability to come home and not hear your kids arguing. Competing opinions from politicians or even our social media friends will easily erode our sense of peace.

In the first century, when Jesus’ followers first heard their teacher’s promise of peace, it must have seemed impossible. The social climate might have seemed to them the way our lives tend to feel today. Rumors of rebellion threatened the political and religious lives of people who simply wanted to exist in safety. Jesus’ promise of peace allowed them—and allows us—to look beyond the turmoil and realize that there is hope for a better way of living.

Jesus follows his promise with the words, “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” The world’s perspective has us believing that peace is simply the absence of fighting. Jesus’ peace is a constant internal knowledge that, whatever is happening around us, our God who loves us is still in control.

Willie Israel, pastor, Rolling Hills Moravian Church
Longwood, Florida