Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman
The Peace of Christ asks that we reimagine the foundation and purpose of our existence.
Dear Friends and Parishioners:
In this Sunday’s Gospel from John, the disciples are found hiding, one might say they were in lockdown. They had the idea that what happened to Jesus would soon befall them. They were trapped in the upper room filled with fear. It was only the appearance of the crucified/resurrected Jesus that broke their fear.
A (not) funny thing this emotion of fear. Many of us are consumed with it now. We have the sense that those things that we turn to for strength, comfort and joy are all being taken away from us. Even if we don’t believe in a literal hell, we are familiar with the sense of weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is easy for us to understand the mind of the ancients, who felt that the capriciousness of life was a sign of God’s anger and judgement.
When the resurrected Christ appears to the disciples, the first thing he proclaims to them is peace. How can he possibly expect there to be peace when there is a hostile government in hot pursuit of them? How can we possibly find peace when we are constantly exposed to images of over-flowing emergency rooms, overwhelmed morgues, a crumbling economy and orders to stay home for an indefinite period?
The peace of Christ asks that we reimagine the foundation and purpose of our existence. It asks us to realize that we are one with the creator and sustainer of life. It asks us to see both life and death as a participation in the divine economy of the universe. St. Paul says it best when he proclaims that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” And again, “Whether we live of die, we are the Lord’s.”
Sin is marked by fear. Sin is not seeing the interconnection of all life. Sin is forgetting our sacred and eternal nature. Sin is living in the torment that all you have and are can be taken from you in an instant. Faith is the acceptance of God’s peace as the foundation of our existence. It is allowing the Christ to enter our place of fear and appropriate his message of reconciliation. Faith is the antidote to fear, it is a renewable resource that we renew in prayer and dedication to loving others and that fundamentally changes the foundations upon which we construct and live our lives.
As we endure these days of isolation, let us dig deep and call upon the Holy Spirit to fill us with the peace of God which passes all understanding.