“My peace I give you.” “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
As Christians, we're called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as peacemakers. This peace appears to have two pursuits: internal and external. There’s the peace we seek within our own hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits. And there’s the peace we seek to enact in the world.
Pause. Inhale. Breathe in the peace of Christ.
Pause. Exhale. Breathe out the peace of Christ.
As you breathe with the scriptures this week, may you learn that you cannot exhale without inhaling, nor can you inhale without exhaling. So too, may you discover the single pursuit of peace.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. Many people were coming and going, so there was no time to eat. He said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” They departed in a boat by themselves for a deserted place.
Many people saw them leaving and recognized them, so they ran ahead from all the cities and arrived before them. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
Wouldn’t it be nice sometimes if we could just disappear? All the worries, anxieties, everything that plagues us… if only we could find a little corner of the world where it wouldn’t follow us. A deserted place; somewhere devoid of all that we fear, inside and outside of us.
Sadly, no such place exists. When we leave our problems behind, they don’t disappear. They just wait for us to come back. We run from them. We push them out of our minds. We ignore them. But they don’t go away.
Notice what Jesus does: he has compassion. Compassion literally means to suffer with. And to suffer with something is to go so far in the acknowledgement of its existence that you are literally willing to feel its pain. It's an act of acceptance. It’s the most radical kind of welcome. We say, Yes, you make me uncomfortable, you bring me pain, but I choose to welcome you, to give you a place to sit next to me, to speak your truth.
Jesus, you made peace by radical welcome.
May I breathe in the peace of accepting all that I find ugly within me.
May I exhale the peace of accepting all the ugly that I find around me.
Go in the peace of Christ to give the peace of Christ to others.