Richard L. Floyd
"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
I have said these words countless times at funerals in my four decades of ministry. They are words to calm and comfort at a time of parting. They are Jesus' words to his friends as he about to take his leave of them.
He promises to leave behind his peace with them, a different kind of peace that the world cannot give.
So I started thinking about this different kind of peace and what makes it different. What peace can the world give? The world holds out the promise of various kinds of security: national security, financial security, personal security, even Social Security.
No generation in history has put so much thought, energy and money into keeping itself safe and secure, but still we are not at peace.
I have seen congregations named "The Church of the Redeemer" and "The Church of the Good Shepherd" and "The Church of All Souls," but I have never seen a church named "The Church of the Troubled Hearts." It might not attract a big following, but it would name who we are. Because our hearts are troubled, troubled about our future, our finances, our children, our health, our relationships, our congregations and our faith.
Like the disciples we worry that Jesus won't be there for us. But Jesus is there for us. He promised he would leave his peace and his Spirit with us. He promised he would "be with us always, even to the end of the age."
And he is. So the peace he gives us that the world cannot give us is the gift of himself. What could be better than that?
We thank you, Jesus, for your gift of peace, which the world can neither give nor take away. Let it calm our troubled hearts, that we might share it with our troubled world.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.