The time I am most at rest in my life is when I am reading something. It may be an eagerly anticipated book, an interesting article or an old, well worn but loved novel that I must’ve read over and over(some books just do that for me). No academic stuff though. .lol…but really, reading is what I do for rest. For leisure. Reading is what I do when I am at peace with myself and with the world. Reading is what I do when I’m happy. Reading is what I do to get happy-being invited into the mind of someone else is utterly fascinating.
When im distressed, when I’m involved in an argument with someone I love(arguments upset me more than I can ever say), when I’m worried, and I pick up a book and find that I can’t concentrate, then I know for certain that whatever it is that’s happening has really and truly stolen away my peace.
I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. You probably know what im talking about.
Peace. Much coveted commodity in our hearts, in our homeS,and by extension, in our world-you only have to look at Maiduguri,or Syria, to know for certain that peace is an expensive, sought out commodity.
We all know what it is not to have peace. A difficult boss. An exam that has caused us not to get a promotion. Bills that remain unpaid for one reason or another. A boyfriend who demands unreasonable things. Children who just won’t act right.(You can insert here what takes away your peace..lol)
On Sunday,pentecost,I thought of what it must have been like to be a disciple of Jesus in the period that he died. The Roman soldiers would’ve looked everywhere for them-to eliminate all traces of Jesus and this strange new cult that was threatening to emerge-nothing should be a threat to Caesar’s rule, and this Jesus preached some sort of Kingship. The Jewish leaders had their own motives-this Jesus brought some sort of apostasy on a grand scale!
By default, this followership had to be squashed. I imagine there would’ve been some price money on each of the heads of the major players and all affiliated to them.
Huddled in that inner room upstairs, whispering and frightened for their lives, probably wondering if the last three years with Jesus was worth this trouble, remembering all his talk about going to Jerusalem and dying and wondering why the bloody man had to be so damn mysterious with all this His talk(I would’ve been exasperated with Jesus,to be honest)missing him so much and wondering if they would ever see him again, maybe at some point or the other, whispering a word or two of prayer, but mostly reminiscing about this man who had changed their lives on a scale that even they at the time could not fully comprehend….
…..and suddenly,a hush falls over the room.
There he is. Standing, probably with a slightly playful,slightly mysterious expression on his face.
Peace be with you, He says.
And their hearts are suddenly full and empty at the same time. Full! Bursting at the seams with joy, happiness and this PEACE they’ve been craving,the kind that only this man-God could give.
And empty…! Wonderfully empty of this..fear, this anxiety that they’ve been carrying about.
Because, you see,apart from this peace, he gave them the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, they went hand in hand. And once they embraced this Holy Spirit, their lives changed on a scale that,like the domino effect,has caused ripples upon ripples..to this very day. Those fearful, weak men became,seemingly overnight,powerful courageous men, who couldn’t keep silent about the wonderfulness of this man who they had been with.
Peace. And with peace, courage.
Courage may very well be the absence of fear,then, if what happened to the disciples is anything to go by. Because, these timid men who literally scattered in the wake of Jesus’ arrest became,only a few years later, men who bravely gave their lives for this Jesus.
I don’t see any fear there.
Courage. The absence of fear. Jesus came and breathed this peace. This peace that dispelled the fear. This Spirit that gave courage.
And so I say to you. Peace. #theJesusway.#theonlyway.