“Peace Be With You.” John 20:21
I remember the birthday surprises my wife, Priscilla, would take joy in pulling off without my knowledge. Every March 29, she’d come up with something new to celebrate my birthday, but when it came to celebrating her birthday, June 20, she’d drive us crazy. It was like this with Christmas as well. I’d ask, “Honey what do you want for your birthday?” Or “What do you want for Christmas?” It was the same answer every year. “All I want is that peace would remain in my house.”
On August 21, 2013 at Rex Hospital, Jesus Christ stood in our midst around her hospital bed and whispered to my wife, Priscilla, “Peace be with you.” In her voice that always spoke just above a whisper, she said, “I don’t feel like I am dying,” and ultimate peace became her’s as we found the courage to let her go home to an eternal peace. I need that peace whispered into my life everyday because everyday brings with it a new challenge. Without the peace of Christ, I could easily become pessimistic, bitter, and judgmental.
Now as I celebrate my birthday, I find myself making Priscilla’s request – “All I want is peace in my house,” but not just for my house, but for the world. In a nation that is polarized on just about everything, I pray that the resurrected Christ would stand in our midst as he did the disciples. “When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors were locked … Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” [John 20:19]
In a world where hatred, war, and violence seem to be the norm, I pray the risen Lord would stand in our midst and say, “Peace be with you.” In a nation where even the church is divided and polarized. the birthday gift I pray for is peace in the body of Christ. On this birthday, I pray that the risen Christ will breath on us the Holy Spirit that we might “lay aside every weight and the sin that clings to us so closely.” [Hebrews 12:1] Let us let go of the sin of fear which is the root of our unrest and lack of peace.
We are an Easter people who need to be reminded that the risen Christ is in our midst, speaking words of peace in the middle of chaos, longing to create shalom in those places of darkness where peace is absent. When we would lock ourselves behind the closed doors of anxiety, fear, hatred, and violence, may we find forgiveness, as the fresh winds of the Spirit remind us that God has not given us spirits of fear, but offers us peace that passes all understanding. Therefore, I wish with my beloved wife on this birthday celebration, peace in the world. I can think of no better words to end with then these:
” Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
-By Francis of Assisi
Blessings & Peace,
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Fair – Peace Be with You – 03.29.2016
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