Connecting faith and daily life
Last weekend I returned home from church having said farewell to our minister of four years. It was a weekend of strong and mixed emotions and I realised how sad I was that people who had become my friends were leaving for the mainland and pastures new. Somewhat in jest we had, as a congregation, dubbed our last meal together the Last Supper, which set me thinking about the disciples.
When the disciples were met with the reality of the impending departure of Jesus from their lives, they became increasingly anxious and confused. Incomprehension flooded their hearts and minds. As was his style Jesus had for some time been trying to prepare them ,using stories and tales which alluded to events and the future.
After the crucifixion we read in John 20 that the disciples are to be found, hidden away in a locked room and in some ways this is understandable…..and it states, they were afraid . In this moment their collective fear and confusion as to what has happened and the realities of events , robs them of their ability to understand the implications of an empty tomb and the reality of a risen Lord.
FEAR…..has led to spiritual blindness that in turn has an erosive effect , leading to doubt and potential disbelief. Fear in this instance is a damaging emotion causing a contraction of possibilities and complete immobility.
We of course, in the context of St. Peter’s episcopal church, are not the disciples, but we too have rather abruptly lost our shepherd.
So what will our response be?
Yes, we must acknowledge feelings of disorientation and bewilderment, perhaps even a sense of grief. We have suffered the loss of our priest-in- charge, a man we trusted, admired and respected, however let’s not lose sight of our true Shepherd who is always with us.
Jesus appeared to the disciple as they huddled together behind locked doors….and in doing so scared the life OUT of them, in order to scare the life INTO them! Their commission remained the same…. To go out into the world and share the good news of love and peace that can be found in a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus himself says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and DO NOT BE AFRAID”
He goes on to leave the disciples with his blessing and Peace.
The Peace of Christ is something alive , dynamic and active in our world. Paradoxically it both calms and challenged. It does not grant us immunity to difficulty, pain or indeed change, however it does enable us to face all the realities of our lives with dignity, assurance and confidence, knowing that whatever it is that lies ahead we need never face it alone.