Peace be with you

By Roy Stetler
April 7, 2024

The picture is daffodils mingled with hellebore–a toxic plant also known as lenten rose, Christmas rose–but which is not a rose.  The white patch in the background is Sierra making sure the stubby pasture grass doesn’t get too long.

In the Gospel of John chapter 20 the risen Jesus meets his followers and summarizes the future of their life together.

Jesus welcomes them with his peace.  Peace will define their life together.  The followers of Jesus will always share the peace of Christ.

Then, the risen Lord invites them to receive the Spirit—to listen deeply, carefully, and prayerfully.

Finally, he reminds them to forgive.  As they listen to and with the Spirit of Peace, his followers will find discernment to forgive, when that is appropriate, or to retain forgiveness—to wait until it is the right time.  Cheap forgiveness does not bring peace.  The Spirit of grace-filled peace is patient.  Forgiveness is not a box to check, it is a practice to follow.  A long journey requires preparation and steadfast commitment—not to be undertaken lightly.

Jesus has taught and demonstrated a life of peace, of gracious love.  His profound trust in God did not waver, even when pursuing it led to his death.  The life of peace to which Jesus calls us, as individuals in community, is indeed a long, demanding journey, but one which pays rich dividends for all.

May we continue to release ourselves over to the risen Christ’s Spirit of peace by welcoming others, being accountable, holding others accountable, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others when they and we are ready.

This is the peace of Christ.  May we live in its abundance.