Thursday, July 11, 2013

'Peace be with you'

Luke 24:36 (NIV)

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
While I remain glad I chose to take a week off from this project concurrent with a vacation, I also realize I maybe should have made some notes along the way about writing topics that bubbled up during an excellent period of immersion with immediate and extended family. As it is, I worry I could open a stream of consciousness and dribble out a few thousand words without blinking — that is if I had not somehow jammed the middle finger of my right hand whilst moving pianos, boxes and tables this afternoon, rendering most keystrokes somewhere between slightly and intensely painful.

As I ease back into the swing of this writing thing, refreshed and renewed in my commitment to be the husband and father God calls me to be, I was delighted to encounter the verse above at the start of my reading tonight. God’s peace is exactly what I need each day. Peace, I feel, leads to the other blessings I seek: patience, wisdom, strength. If I am truly calm, I am empowered to access the best parts of my personality.

(I also like how a few verses later Jesus eats a piece of broiled fish to prove his reality to the disciples. This is how I like to imagine things would go if Jesus ever visited me personally — it starts with a blessing of peace, then a few moments later we’re sharing a meal. Though probably the fish I offered would be deep fried. I think Jesus would be cool with that option.)

Peace also is something I like to pray for on behalf of others who are swimming in some sort of life challenge. Or if someone I know is decidedly anti-belief, I simply tell them I hope they are able to find peace. Imagine a world where peace was prized as much as success or power, where serenity was as desired as passion or excitement. And there is a crucial distinction between simple calm and quiet and the legitimate feeling of being at peace with whatever life sets on the table. I deeply believe only God can provide that type of logic-defying peace, and I’ve lived it more than once.

At Christmas last year, we gave my mother a few things. Among them was a little trinket, a refrigerator magnet with a quote of unknown origin. I liked it then and even more now:
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
Could not have written it better myself. And the more I type, the more my finger hurts, so I’ll leave it there. May peace be with you.

A prayer for July 11:

Lord, grant us peace. When life is hectic, remind me of your all-encompassing love. And please help me be a source of peace for others. I don’t expect my house to be quiet or clean, but I want it to be somewhere my children feel safe, and I want our family to be a window to your love for all of us. Help me lead the way. Amen.

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