Imagine yourself in a locked room because you are fearful of what is going to come next. You are still trying to make sense of what has happened over the last few days when, as Scripture relates the story:
“Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your minds?”
I love this line, “They were startled and frightened…. Jesus said to them, why are troubled…?”
How many times in our lives have we been troubled that might have been taken away with someone saying to us, peace be with you.
Why are we troubled?
You just walked through a locked door! But Jesus says to them, Peace, it’s me, look at my wounds and see for yourself. Then he gets to the real reason for his visit; he was hungry.
Peace be with you. In all the gospel stories of the Resurrection and first appearances, Jesus says to them; Peace be with you. In a way, this is a reminder back to the Palm Sunday story. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble beast as a sign of one who comes to bring peace.
I can only imagine how I would have felt to be sitting there, scared for my life, knowing that my friend was dead, and then poof, there he is right in front of me. I believe saying Peace be with you is the least he could do at that moment.
But Jesus is just that; he is the one who brings peace. One of his titles is the Prince of Peace.
Like many people around the world yesterday, I watched the funeral of HRH Prince Philip. I was struck by the image of the Queen, dressed in black, sitting all alone in the chapel for the funeral of the man she spent all her adult life with. She sat there as they brought his flag-draped casket in. She sat a listened to readings and the prayers. And she sat and watched as they carried him to his resting place.
Funerals are not for the dead; funerals are for those of us left behind. Funerals are designed to help us cope with the loss of the one we loved. Funerals are supposed to bring some level of peace in our world that is swirling all around us. I hope she could find a little peace yesterday that will help her in the days and weeks to come.
Many times, in Scripture, Jesus comes on the scene and brings this peace that passes all understanding. One of my favorites is the story of the disciples on their boat and in a storm. They wake and are frightened, and Jesus is still sleeping. They wake him, and he brings calm. Scriptures tells us that Jesus calms the waves of the water that was tossing that little boat around.
There was another time, again on the water, when the disciples saw Jesus walking toward them. They were frightened that what they saw. I mean, who wouldn’t be? But Jesus brought calm and peace to them at that very moment. When Peter decided he wanted to walk on water as well, and when he began to sink and cried out, Jesus reached out and brought calm to his life.
But what about our own lives? Are there times when you could use a little peace?
In my life, when things are going crazy, I turn to prayer. Over the years, my prayer life has been good and not so good. It is the time when my prayer life is good when I make the time to read Scripture each day that a sense of peace comes over me. I will not say life is perfect in those times, but it seems that the little things don’t bother me as much.
Finding peace these days is not always easy. Sometimes I feel like those first disciples hiding in that upper room with the door locked in fear of what will happen next. Sometimes I am afraid to open the door because I am not sure what is on the other side. In those times, we need to ask Jesus to come into our midst and bring that peace.
My prayer for us today is that we can find that peace in our lives or that we can be that peace for another.