Imagining Peace. 

Imagine this:  harmony, health, and wholeness in all aspects of your life. Picture all your relationships flourishing: your relationships with God, with everyone in your life, with creation and even with yourself. Think of our entire world being in a state where everything is as it ought to be, as God intends for it to be. 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t desire that?  And that is exactly the gift that Jesus brings on Easter.  Jesus’ first words to his disciples after being raised from the dead are: “Peace be with you.” Peace. Shalom. And the above is a perfect description of what that peace, that shalom is.

It’s what we all long for and yet it seems so beyond our grasp. We think of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the horror which continues to unfold in Gaza, the gun violence that destroys our own streets, and the cacophony of crass voices causing all kinds of tension and division from our political leaders and those who place themselves firmly in one tribe and vilify all others.  It is distressing. Add to this your own personal worries, challenges and conflicts and “peace” seems so far off. Is it just a dream? Wishful thinking? Is it hopeless?

Yet, there stands Jesus, offering shalom, after having endured the horror of betrayal, denial, mockery, scourging and crucifixion. After all that, the Risen Lord says, “Peace be with you.”

As followers of Jesus, we remember that Jesus’ entire life and mission has been to show you and me and all of humanity another way to live, the true way to live, the godly way to live: the way of Peace. Remember that just as Holy Week began, Jesus wept for Jerusalem saying, “if only you knew the things that make for peace.” Throughout his entire life, in word and deed, Jesus has shown the way that leads to peace. And especially during Holy Week, Jesus showed what makes for peace: loving to the bitter end. Now risen, Jesus is saying: this is the path of peace. Live as I live, and you will find peace. Live as I live, and you will be a peacemaker for the world.

I like what Jason Porterfield says concerning Jesus and his warning to his disciples on the Tuesday before he died. Speaking about living in a world filled with chaos, war, division, “Jesus warns his disciples that if they wanted to stay awake and avoid becoming entranced by the drumbeats of war, then they must regularly engage in simple acts that cultivate peace. Only those who routinely sow the seeds of peace—small as they may be—find the strength to stand firm for peace when the world around them erupts in war.”

So, this Easter Season, let’s commit to do two things:

First, every day, as you begin your day, hear Jesus whispering in your heart, “Peace be with you.” Throughout the day, especially in moments of anxiety, just stop for a moment, and breathe in the Peace that Jesus breathes out into the world.

Second: engage each day in simple acts that cultivate peace. Sow seeds of peace in small ways: call someone you know who is alone or lonely, just to say hello. Offer a dollar or a sandwich to the person begging on the street and look him/her in the eye and ask their name.  Let go of a grudge you’ve been holding on to that does nothing but weigh you down.  In your heart, forgive someone who hurt you but is no longer here.  Share a kind word with someone at work who isn’t necessarily your favorite person. Invite someone you know who feels estranged from Church to join us here at Saint Miriam.  The list goes on and on.

Throughout these 50 days of Easter remember Jesus’ gift of peace. Accept it. Sow it throughout the day. That’s the best way for all of us to go beyond imagining peace, shalom and making it real.

Peace and love,

Father Liam

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