“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14 v 27
When we are not in lockdown I help at Magic Carpet, our parent and toddler group. One of the challenges I see the parents struggle with is how to leave their children alone when they need to do something. The parent has to get the child comfy, find them an activity to do and once they are distracted, dash off to the pram or toilet or wherever they need to go. If they are lucky they’ll make it back before the little one notices. If they’re unlucky all hell breaks loose!
Children have a very instinctive sense of peace: peace comes from being close to their caregivers. When they are separated they quickly feel uneasy and distressed, but the nearer they are the safer they feel. That’s why whenever they are scared, upset or unsure a child will rush into their caregiver’s arms, the closeness makes them feel at peace.
We may grow out of crying whenever our parents leave the room, but on some level we never grow out of that need for presence. When we are scared or upset we still look for the comfort and reassurance that comes from being close to someone who loves us.
Our verse today comes from the words Jesus said to his disciples before he was arrested and taken to the cross. Very soon Jesus was going to be leaving his friends behind. There would be no more travelling together, no more Passover meals, no more parables. And Jesus knew how they would feel. Like toddlers left by their parents: lost, confused, and upset.
But Jesus wasn’t really leaving them, he was sending the Holy Spirit to be with them. Jesus wasn’t going to be with them as just another flesh and blood person, he was going to be alive in them. Jesus would be making a home in their hearts. Far from leaving them, Jesus was going to be closer than they could ever imagine. So Jesus said, “do not be afraid”. Why? Because I’m right here with you, like a parent scooping their child up in their arms. Be at peace because I am here.
In times like these peace can seem in short supply. The world out there certainly isn’t giving us peace, it’s only giving us more and more uncertainty. When the world isn’t giving us peace, we should instead look inwards to find God’s Spirit in us. When we quiet out the noise from all the stresses of the outside world, we discover that the God who loves us dearly is right there beside us. And in that we find peace
What things have been upsetting your peace this week?
What can you do to turn your attention to that inner peace?