An Instrument of Peace
Peace, serenity, tranquility. How much of these things do you have in your life, and how often do you think about them? How much more of these things would you like in your life? Peace, serenity, tranquility. It's interesting if you just say the words over and over again. Peace, serenity, tranquility. The words themselves, they actually begin to transform you. They begin to transform your mood. They begin to transform your mindset. They have a powerful impact on you.
In this reading, Jesus stands before the disciples and he says, "Peace be with you." That's his greeting. Peace be with you. It's a powerful greeting because you think about how many people when you greet them do you feel peace? Some people when you greet, maybe you feel anxiety or you feel concerned about what they're going to say or what they're going to think or how the meeting is going to go or that kind of thing. But how many people when you come into their company, you just feel a peace, a serenity, a tranquility, and that's Jesus.
Jesus then goes on to say, "Hey, I've risen from the dead. Here's my hands. Look at my hands. Look at my feet." He's trying to prove to the disciples that it's him and that he has risen from the dead. He's not a ghost. He's not an apparition. He is really risen from the dead. There's a really interesting line we overlook sometimes. Jesus says to the disciples, he says, "Have you anything here to eat?" You might think, "Well, that's a strange line." Have you anything here to eat? Why is he asking them for something to eat? Because ghosts don't eat. Ghosts don't eat. Apparitions don't eat. He wants to sit with them and eat so that they know that he is literally and physically risen from the dead. And so it's powerful. It's a beautiful testament to the way Jesus thinks about caring for the disciples, helping the disciples to understand what's really happened here.
You think about peace in your life. You think about peace in the world. There's a lot of restlessness in the world. There's a lot of everything that's the opposite of peace in the world. If we're going to have peace in the world, we first need peace in our hearts, peace in our families. And so I think today is opportunity to step back and think about sort of the what, when, where, how, of peace. What is it that brings peace into your life? Are you mindful of who and what brings peace into your life? Are you mindful of who and what takes peace from your life? Are you mindful of places that you go that make you peaceful, will lead you into a peaceful state, and places that you go that rob you of your peace? Who? You. What? Peace. When? Do you know when to access peace? Are you able to access peace whenever you want it? Have you learned the skills, the spiritual exercises, and disciplines that allow you, when you get worked up or things don't go the way you expected, that you're able to get into a place of peace and you know the places that lead you to that peace? That's the first piece.
The second piece, Jesus comes, he stands among, he says, "Peace be with you." Jesus wants to give them his peace just as he wants to give you and me his peace. But then the second piece of that is Jesus sends them out into the world to be ambassadors of peace. So then we take a look at the giving of peace. We looked at the getting peace or the receiving peace. The what, when, who, where, how. Now we look at the giving of peace. Who? You. You become an ambassador of God's peace in the world. Where? Everywhere you go. Everywhere you go. And let's face it, some days we're ambassadors of peace, and some days we're not. Some days when I come home from work, my wife probably thinks I'm an ambassador of peace. And guess what? Many days when I come home from work, I come in the house, I got things on my mind, I'm maybe tired, maybe a bit cranky, and I'm probably not considered to be an ambassador of peace on those days. But I'm called to be. I'm called to be aware of that, to be mindful of that, and to do something about that. And sometimes just to sit in my car in the garage for a couple of minutes and access the peace that Jesus wants to give me so that when I go into the house, I can be an ambassador of peace to my wife and my children. There's a great line. There's that great line, Francis of Assisi, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." It's a beautiful prayer in the entirety of the prayer. But that one line, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace" has played a powerful role in my life. Sometimes I'll just say it over and over and over again. Just slowly to say it over and over and over again when I've lost my peace, when I'm crippled by fear or anxiety or lost my temper, I just come into that line. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Just over and over and over again. Jesus, he wants to give us his deep and abiding peace. He wants us to feel that. But not only for ourselves, he wants to fill us with that peace so he can send us out into the world as ambassadors of peace.