Weekly Devotion for April 17, 2023

A Season For Peace

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. John 20:19-21

Deadly tornados in Mississippi. Tumult in the Tennessee Statehouse. President Trump indicted. Disaffiliation in our denomination. Deaths of dear leaders-- lay and clergy. Financial uncertainty and stress in our churches.

These are some of the many things that have been on my mind in the last few weeks. What has filled your minds with worry? I am sure that we share many of the same concerns. It all just seems like a lot right now. 

I cannot help but imagine something similar for the disciples. Of course, the context was completely different. But I believe that there are the common elements that, like us, kept the disciples huddled in fear and locked out of hope. There was political chaos. Uncertainty in their faith. A perceived loss of possibilities. Fear-- for their lives and their way of life. 

We see in the passage that the disciples are caught in one of the modes of the "fight, flight, freeze, or faint." Jesus shows up unexpectedly to offer those scared, discombobulated disciples "peace." The gospel writer tells us that the disciples rejoiced when they saw Jesus and heard him speack. We can only imagine the relief they felt by his presence and words of reassurance. 

And so it should be for us too. There is so much that can carry us away with worry or concern. It truly feels unrelenting sometimes. And yet, if like the disciples we open the door of our hearts-- Jesus can surprise us and bring us peace. 

I pray that all of you had and will continue to have a blessed, joyous, and peace-filled season of Easter. There is so much goodness to be had. Let us follow the example of the disciples to take a risk to open ourselves to receive Christ. Happy Easter!