Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
I’ve been really honestly wondering why we can’t begin to inhabit God’s peace about anything and everything, albeit certainly in a limited way. What God thinks and feels, if we can say such a thing, and it seems to me based on Scripture, we most certainly can. Instead of being left to our own thoughts and feelings, sometimes full of alarm, or maybe more often just a gnawing fear and uneasiness, we can be hopefully more and more filled with God’s peace. By God’s peace I mean the sense that all is well in the sense that all will be well (Julian of Norwich).
This doesn’t mean we don’t face the real world, and experience more than disappointment along the way, with all the normal reactions that brings. Nor does it mean that we won’t face actual trouble. It just means that in the midst of all of this, we can inhabit God’s peace. And how is that possible? Jesus gives us no less than his own peace. Given not just to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. But to us all in and through Jesus.
I quote a hymn included in the new Mennonite hymnal, Voices Together:
1 Joys are flowing like a riversince the Comforter has come,who abides with us forever,makes the trusting heart a home.Refrain:Blessed quietness, holy quietnesswhat assurance in my soul!On the stormy sea speaking peace to mehow the billows cease to roll!2 Like the rain that falls from heaven,like the sunlight from the sky,so the Holy Ghost is given,coming on us from on high. [Refrain]3 See, a fruitful field is growing,blessed fruit of righteousness,and the streams of life are flowingin the lonely wilderness. [Refrain]4 What a wonderful salvation,where we always see God’s face!What a perfect habitation,what a quiet resting place! [Refrain]-Manie P. Ferguson