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    May 26, 2019

    Jesus Blesses Us with Peace

    Jesus Blesses Us with Peace

    Passage: John 14:23-29

    Speaker: Vivian McCarthy

    Whenever something is repeated in a scripture passage, it is obviously something important. In the chapter where we find today’s passage, Jesus says “do not let your hearts be troubled” twice and also reiterates His blessing of peace for the disciples. ~Pastor Vivian

    Do not let your hearts be troubled.  In the 14th chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus says this twice – early in the chapter and then near the end, coupled with his blessing the disciples with peace. 

    When someone says something to you twice in the same conversation, it’s a good idea to pay attention.  It might not be a senior moment!  When I read a passage of scripture and there is a repetition, I try to pay special attention to the repetition and its connected thoughts.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Peace I leave with you.”

    Again and again in the gospels, Jesus speaks peace to us, and here in the midst of his farewell speech to the disciples, he says it twice. 

    • Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to [your] span of life?”  Matthew 6:25-27
    • Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34
    • “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
    • “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  Luke 12:25

    The theme of peace is articulated in the epistles of Paul and other New Testament passages – as well as in the Hebrew scriptures.  And contemporary writers continue the theme. 

    • Vince Havner wrote: Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.
    • Max Lucado: No one can pray and worry at the same time.

    So, when have you experienced the peace that Jesus gives?  The peace that passes understanding?  I have seen that peace come over some of you.  I have felt that peace come over me.  What is it that allows you or leads you to the place where you feel that peace?

    While you think for a moment or two, I will share a brief story.  This particular event happened over 30 years ago.  One of my singers in the community chorus I conducted was a deacon in the Lutheran church, as was her husband, John.  We often prayed together at the end of our rehearsals and shared joys and concerns, and we had been praying for John for weeks because he had cancer.

    Once late afternoon, as I knew that John was dying, I went to see him and Margie at the hospital.  As I entered the room, so did the leader of the deacons’ ministry at their church.  He had a small bottle of oil in his hands, and he had come to anoint John for healing.  I don’t remember the words of his prayer.  What I remember is that, as we knew that John lay dying, there was a change in the atmosphere when that deacon anointed John and prayed.  I can only describe it as peace.  There was the absolute assurance that John was being healed even as he passed from this life to eternal life with God. 

    Sometimes peace comes through prayer.  Sometimes peace comes through being still.  Sometimes peace comes through meditating on the Word.  Sometimes peace comes when spending quiet time or even noisy time with those that you love.  Sometimes peace comes when we simply pause to wonder at the gifts God has given us – such as the beauty of this FLOWER.

    Whatever the means by which we experience it, Jesus’ blessing of peace is precious – and it is available to us every day in every moment. 

    And the peace itself may just be a means to others of Jesus’ blessings for us.  You know the little song I sang with the children today?  There are 2 more verses:  I got joy like a fountain and I’ve got love like an ocean.  As I meditated on this passage this week and remembered this little camp song, I began to wonder if peace may be a path to joy and if joy and peace could just be a path to love – and even to loving as Jesus loved us?