May 1, 2016 - Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27

This is Jesus’s farewell address, spoken to his apostles as he celebrates Passover with them on the eve of his torture and death.  What peace does he offer them under these circumstances?  He will go on, in this speech, to prophesy their own horrific deaths.  But “not as the world gives” does he give them peace.  This is something more than a promise that they’ll avoid hardship, pain, and suffering. This is a peace that surpasses all understanding, as Paul will say to the Philippians (4:7).  God does not promise us good luck, health, prosperity, or even guidance.  Yes, bad things happen to good people and vice versa.  That is what Jesus is affirming.  What God promises is that He will suffer it with us.  Elizabeth K├╝bler Ross, the pioneer of palliative care, said that sometimes when we’re in pain we want to say “don’t just do something, stand there.”  That is what God offers.  The Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega, He Who placed the world on its foundations, suffers with us.  That is extraordinary.