“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.” John 14:27
Dear Redeemer Family:
In John 14:27, we hear Jesus speak to our troubles and fears as he encourages us, “do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” In the “do not let,” Jesus calls us to engage the gift of peace he has given us in confronting the feelings of trouble and fear. We are the ones who “do not let” troubles and fears make a home in our hearts. We are the ones who “do not let” ourselves live as though Christ’s peace makes no difference. We are not simply passive recipients of this deep and abiding peace; we are users of it! In what ways are we actively receiving the Spirit of peace by utilizing its power in our lives? There are plenty of opportunities in our lives.
In his 16th century book The Prince (actually, better translated The Chieftain, but why break with tradition), Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a treatise on how to govern people. He wrote that essentially there are two ways: by love or by fear. He recommended by fear. Why? Because, he considered it safer and more effective. The world took note, and has been largely using that method ever since. You don’t believe me? Watch the news, and start counting the stories from various sources which leave you with either a said, or unsaid, feeling of “or else.” We get them all of the time. It has happened so many times that I sincerely believe that many people are either scared to death about many issues, or have built up an emotional callous to the point that they walk around emotionally numb. You’ve probably seen a large number of them. In the latter case, I believe that it has actually backfired on Machiavelli. If you are numb, you are not afraid. It is eventually a dead end means.
Our Lord on the other hand, and He has divine backing to do this, has chosen love and peace. That is a major difference between this world and the Kingdom of God. With fear, there is no peace. There is only fright. St. John even tells us in his First Epistle, 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. “ And then, a few verses later, in verse 18, he continues with, “perfect love casts out fear.” There is the friction between this world and the Kingdom of God. Fear and love cannot coexist. As disciples of Christ, and as His ambassadors to this world, we are sent out in love to share Christs love with this world. Do not marvel at this. It is our calling. Only those who live in fear, and do not know God, marvel at this. For the follower of Christ, in faith, we are always to move in love towards those around us. This isn’t an easy thing to do. But Christ has also sent the Holy Spirit to guide us through these tasks. And so, in our endeavors, to a world terribly afraid or indifferent, we proclaim Christ’s love and God’s Holy Gospel. It is a righteous calling. Go and do as Our Risen Lord has given and commanded. Amen.