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The gift of peace.

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on unsplash.com

In today’s gospel Jesus prepares his disciples for yet another change in their relationship, another leaving, another moving on. It’s always tempting to cling to what we know, to the familiar and the safe, especially when we’ve faced the sort of dramatic and unexpected changes that the Gospels have been describing since Easter. Yet, all through the Gospels Jesus has been reminding his disciples that that is not what following him is about.

Following Jesus is about constantly being prepared to let go of everything. His disciples saw that in the passion as they watched him suffer and die shattering all their hopes and dreams as he did so. Before they could even begin to get used to that he had risen from the dead and was inviting them into a new relationship with the risen Christ. Now, as we move towards Ascension he is telling his disciples to let go of the risen Christ that they have just discovered. But, bleak as that may have felt to them, he doesn’t leave them with nothing. They have to let go of him in order to be able to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As he prepares them for this he says:

“Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.”

Like the disciples we are called to let go of everything, even of our image of the risen Christ in order to be able to enter more deeply into relationship with him. We’ve lived through many hard and challenging things in this past year, there is much that we’ve had to let go of. As restrictions begin to ease we are facing new challenges and new letting goes. The risen Christ is calling us we to let go of the things we’ve become used to in the past year, things we thought we’d never do that have become strangely familiar. We have to think about the things we want to carry forward and the things we need to let go of in order to avoid falling into past mistakes and to build a more equitable society. Much as we want to take these steps it is also unsettling and challenging for us. In our current circumstances we need the peace Jesus offers as much as the disciples did.

As we move through Eastertide where do you need to feel the peace of Christ in your life?