Trinity Churchyard in spring

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: Peace Grounded in God’s Love

John 14:23–29

Jesus said to Judas (not Iscariot), “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

Sitting with this passage is challenging, especially in the aftermath of the massacre in Buffalo and one million dead from COVID-19 in this country. Yet, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

How is this possible in the face of such tragedy and grief? The scene in John’s Gospel takes place right before Jesus’s crucifixion. Although the disciples don’t know what will happen at this point, they are frightened, unsettled, and have a lot of questions — feelings we can relate to.

Fear is pervasive these days: fear of not having enough, losing control, power, or safety. Yet fear makes it difficult to think clearly and beyond our own self-absorbed perspectives.

What Jesus offers is peace grounded in God’s love. It is a peace accessible and present every moment of every day if we choose to ground ourselves in God. We do not seek this peace to make ourselves feel better but rather as a response to our relationship with the Holy One. This relationship propels us to offer our peace-centered love to others.

What is your practice to become more deeply grounded in God’s peace?

—Ruth Frey

Elisabeth Johnson reminds us that the gift of peace accompanies the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Bruce Epperly walks us through the readings for this Sunday and notes that, in John’s Gospel, “Peace enlivens the soul and widens our sense of self beyond the fragile and defensive self to embrace the Spirit of God moving in all things.”

Wendell Berry’s poem “What we need is here” reminds us that the Holy One’s love dwells within each of us.

Of the carving “Paths of Peace” by Sister Mary Ann Osborne, Victoria Emily Jones writes, “Christ is pronouncing a blessing. We, his people, receive it. He has forged ‘paths of peace’ for us to follow, as Sister Mary Ann’s work suggests, with road markings at the bottom left inviting us to set off where Christ has trod. And he goes with us in the Spirit.”

This is such a blessing. I hope you think so too.    

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Coming Up

This week in Discovery, Sunday at 10am, join Summerlee Staten for a Bible study on the Parable of the Talents as Trinity celebrates its newest stained-glass window.