Heavenly Peace (24-10-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 67:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
Bible Reading: John 14:26-28
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.'
If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
When our daughter returned to work after maternity leave Helen and I spent a few days each week childminding our grandchildren; twins of 12 months at home, a three-year old at nursery and a five-year old at school. We had spent some time with them beforehand and they knew us well and so, most of the time, they were peaceful and content in the knowledge that Mummy and Daddy would be home soon.
In some ways I wonder if we were like the Holy Spirit given to the disciples when Jesus went away. There were times when the twins woke up after a nap and cried because we were not their parents, and there were times when one of the older ones hurt themselves and cried, ‘I want my Mummy’, but they were only temporary, and peace was restored.
Peace is an important theme in much of the New Testament. At the start of Luke’s gospel the angels announce, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth’. Later we see the peace that Jesus had when asleep in a boat in the midst of a storm and the peace that he gave the disciples when he calmed the storm. Later still we have his words spoken to the disciples after his resurrection, ‘Peace be with you.’ Jesus himself is called the Prince of Peace and St Paul tells us that he gives us a peace that the world cannot understand (Philippians 4:6-7).
In today’s bible verses when Jesus is preparing his disciples for his departure he tells them of a peace he is giving them, a peace that the world cannot give. Peace, it seems, is a gift we need to receive from Jesus. It is also, according again to St Paul, part of the fruit of the Spirit, fruit that grows when we abide in Jesus as a vine grows when it abides in the soil. This peace was given when Jesus returned to the Father, with the promise that he is coming back.
Like the disciples after the ascension, we do not have Jesus with us in person, but we do have the comfort and care of the Holy Spirit and we do have the promise that Jesus will return. Just as with our grandchildren there will be a few traumas along the way, but they will pass, and peace will be restored; a peace to receive as a gift, a peace that the world cannot give.
Lord Jesus, in all the areas of life that cause me to be anxious, help me to receive afresh the peace that you freely give. Amen
May the peace of God.