Tuesday of the 5th Week of Eastertide
“Peace I bequeath to you; my own peace I give to you, a peace the world cannot give…”
Most of us are familiar with the context of ‘peace’ in the scriptures which isn’t limited to the idea of an absence of conflict, isn’t fleeting, unrelated to circumstances, comprises a notion of wholeness and completeness and is rooted in Christ. However, all of these can sound rather dreamy and unrealistic. As a worldly citizen heavily influenced by the relativism in our society, my concept of peace could rarely transcend beyond the textbook explanations and limits of definitions within the English language. World peace is a precarious thing – there is a tendency to think of peace in negative terms; freedom from disturbance or absence of conflict. Yet, what is permeating in the society is mainly the opposite of it – unrest, strife and turmoil. Indeed, the media tends to focus on negativism because they are newsworthy. The majority of news are centred around negative events – crimes, disasters, conflicts etc. Humans are hardwired towards negativity – our brains react more strongly to a negative stimulus and trigger a self-protection mechanism in order to keep ourselves away from harm. Hence, through the consumption of daily news and constant monitoring of social media feeds, it is little wonder why they induce so much stress and anxiety in us.
Rather than trying to delve into explaining peace in the biblical context, I viewed it simply as a gift from Christ. A gift that represents the peace-making effort by reconciling our broken relationship with God. Once tarnished by the folly of Adam and Eve, it was mended and accomplished through Jesus. Since that has already been completed, there isn’t a doubt on its efficacy and hence, isn’t fleeting and unrelated to our present circumstances. This way of thinking might seem strange, but once I started thinking of God’s peace as a gift unrelated to human efforts, it made my understanding of that passage a lot better. This beautiful parting gift from Jesus in today’s passage begins to take shape when we start to ponder about the prospect of meeting God. In order to do that, we would first have to confront death. Obviously, I have yet to confront the imminence of my death and am hoping to delay this experience as much as possible. Nonetheless, I have come across some people in ministries with that sort of readiness and fearlessness in terms of the prospect of death. Perhaps that is why so many people, including me, are so fearful of death; simply because of the unknown prospects and the broken relationships we have with God. It is akin to my younger days of not wanting to go home to face my parents after receiving my exam results. I wish I could wander on the streets long enough until they forgot about my exams altogether.
This reassuring parting gift from Jesus today is meant to dissipate our worries and uncertainties of the future. At times, we will definitely have the experience of God’s peace slip away from us. Hence, it is so important to surround ourselves with whatever tools we have – scriptures, community, ministries etc. in order to constantly remind ourselves of the gift that we already have. Hopefully with this parting gift from Jesus, we can then start to permeate the definition of worldly peace in our society by making peace with others, especially those who have yet to have that personal encounter with Christ.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we come to you in need of your peace and truth to soothe our hearts and spirits in these turbulent times. Please constantly remind us of your everlasting love, healing and grace and thank you for the gift of our saviour Jesus. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for setting us free from our burdens and being with us every single moment of our lives.