This Sunday, if you hear the words of John 20:19-31 spoken aloud, please pay attention to these two sentences:
Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
At the time, Jesus was speaking to his disciples, frightened men who had barred the door and locked themselves in a room. They were worried that they, too, might be arrested, scourged, and crucified. Yet here before them was the one they had followed. He had been arrested. He had been scourged. He had been crucified. He had died and been buried. And suddenly here He is again before them saying, “Peace be with you.”
The disciples rejoice. Somehow, their friend has returned. Then Jesus says again “Peace be with you” but adds “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
It may just be me, but there is something at odds here with the idea of being at peace and being sent out into the world to do what might get you crucified.
Could that be at the heart of it? Jesus breathes on his disciples. He instills in them the Holy Spirit. They unlock the door. They go into the world. They joyfully proclaim the good news, doing that which may very well get them arrested, scourged, and crucified. They are sent forth yet are at peace. They open themselves to the worst the world can do, yet they are joyful.
We can live that way as well, can’t we? Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny N. Schweers serves on the Vestry at SsAM and wears other volunteer hats as well, including webmaster for this website. Every week he writes a prayer to go with one of his photos and sends them out to subscribers. Click here to see his Photo Prayer website.