Weekly e-Devotion: May 24 Edition

John 14:23-29

Gospel Lesson for Sunday May 26019

 23Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

    During the 60s when everyone brandished the ‘peace sign’ with abandon, there was little or no peace, either internationally or in the American culture. Some might argue that this lack of domestic peace was actually a necessary ingredient to foster the social changes that had been brewing beneath the apparently calm surface of the 50s. That may be true, but we are now into the next century and 50+ years later there is still very little peace, and most of the same issues and inequities abound.
    The peace that Jesus came to give us has very little to do with the kind of peace that the world offers. We are used to a peace that is kept with an armed militia and the ironically named “peacekeeper missiles,” or the kind of peace we keep in our families by not talking about the herd of elephants in the living room. This is ‘peace-ish’ and it actually festers and ulcerates the soul. It is peace-on-the-cheap and it is unsustainable. We suffer daily from all the false peace in the world and in our hearts.
   
Even the great Pax Romana was only maintained militarily by preemptive invasions of any territories considered potential threats. Sometimes I fear that we actually long for a Pax Americana on those same terms. Terrorism only fuels our quest for “peace and safety” at almost any cost. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:3 to see what happens when our first desire is for this kind of peace.)
   
Closer to home, we are experiencing a crisis of authority around keeping the peace in our communities. Police officers, commissioned as peace keepers if not peace makers, are now in the crosshairs of our increasingly violent society. We have lost the ability to fight with words and our first inclination is to shoot first and never ask any questions later.
   
On the individual level, the old chorus “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me” is a song we can sing only with our fingers crossed, for we know better than to place much hope in ourselves as the arbiters of peace. We feel the weight in our souls from the age-old war of good and evil, of selfishness and surrender, of truth and falsehood, of measuring up (or not) to the endless list of the world’s glittering demands. Without that miraculous peace of Christ, we become the seedbed of anything but peace. No amount of yoga, meditation, jogging, or aromatherapy will shield us or heal us from our anxious un-peace.
   
Jesus’ peace is not something for which we strive, but a gift we each are given, which is the first fruit of the indwelling of God’s Spirit. God’s peace is our foundational knowing that God is with us and for us, in union with us and that neither you nor I can be removed from his presence. This is the entrance to joy! This is what empowers God’s people to go out into a very un-peaceful world and do God’s work, planting little pockets of peace wherever God sends us. We may have to water these plantings with our blood, sweat and tears, but the peace that God gives never gives way as we faithfully sow the seeds of God’s kingdom.
   
As the prophet Jeremiah extolled (6:16), “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths; ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.”
   
May the Peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with me.

   e-Devotion author: Nance Wabshaw.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan Hoeger at dhoeger@allsaintsphoenix.org or 602.866.9191 .

The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website or our Facebook page.


PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

 Heavenly Father, your peace give us strength to face the unknown. Praise to you for Jesus, whose last words assure us that you never leave us to face the future alone. Amen.


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BIBLE READINGS

May 26
6th Sunday of Easter
Click HERE to read
Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
John 14:23-29 *

June 2
7th Sunday of Easter 
Click HERE to read
1 Samuel 2:1-10

Psalm 113
Romans 12:9-16b
Luke 1:39-57 

* eDevotion Bible text(s)


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