Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”- John 20:21
During this Easter season we hear stories of the Risen Christ appearing to his disciples. In the gospel of John, Jesus appears to the group as they are huddled in fear behind locked doors. Jesus speaks to them a greeting of “peace” (shalom), breathes on them and blesses them with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sends them out into the world as bearers of this Spirit, transforming fear into peace
What is it that we think we are doing each week when we wish each other the “peace of Christ’? Have we perhaps tended to turn this sacred greeting into a casual “hey, there, how are you today?” Maybe it is good to remember that these words mirror Jesus’ Easter greeting and are beautiful words of blessing that wish for the other the kind of heart transformation that the disciples experienced: a banishment of isolating fear and an invitation into a stance of trust and joy which might fuel courageous witness. When we wish another the peace of Christ, we are praying for them to open wide their hearts, so that the Holy Spirit might take up residence and transform them into faithful Christ-bearers, sent forth to bear witness to God’s power to bring new life to places of sorrow and death. Alleluia indeed!
Come, Lord Jesus, give us your peace; then, with hearts perfected, we may joy in your presence.