“Are we next?” Sitting behind a locked door (which in actuality would not keep anyone out), conversation paused each time someone passed by the door. Emotions, too weighty for words, sat heavily in the room. What was going on? The women say Jesus has risen from the dead. As soon as the words sank in, we fell all over each other trying to go see for ourselves. His body is gone – that much is certain. John thinks it’s true. But the rest of us aren’t so sure. So, we sit. Waiting…for something. Given everything that’s happened, we’re inwardly preparing ourselves for what may come next.

It’s a familiar feeling. Two thousand plus years later, we sit waiting too. In our off-center world, war, predicted food shortages, gas shortages, and unpredictable economics leave us wondering how to secure ourselves. Like the disciples, we brace ourselves when the footsteps of disaster walk past our door, wondering what might come next.

But maybe that’s not you. Maybe you experience it more like Mary who sat in the garden weeping. She wept, a heart broken with all it had lost. But I wonder if she wept also, a heart overwhelmed with circumstances that felt too much? Like waves building into high crests before crashing into shore, I wonder if the horror of the days past culminated in grief. Not just for the loss of her beloved Jesus, but for what had been asked of her as his friend and follower. I know I feel that way sometimes. Everything gets to be overwhelming, and tears flow freely. Sometimes what is asked of us feels like too much. That grief, that gap between faith and sight, and endurance for Love’s sake can reach up, clobbering us sometimes.

Or maybe you’re more like Thomas, whose broad declaration that he would absolutely not believe until he had seen with his own eyes was a last-ditch grab for his heart’s protection. “No, please, don’t invite me to believe again when I’ve just lost what I held dear. Don’t put possibilities in front of me that can’t be true and ask me to open wide the heart that still bleeds from the last go-round. I need to know with my own intellect and assurance that this time it’s going to be different before I give myself to someone like that again.”

Into these moments Jesus comes with the words, “Peace be to you.” Looking past the English to the Greek, I realize it’s not Shalom he brings this time, but Eiréné meaning “one, peace, quietness, or rest.” These are not so much declaration words (“I come to bring PEACE!”) but rather an invitation to receive his peace no matter where we find ourselves.

Are you worried for the future?
Peace be to you.

Do you feel lost in emotion? Overwhelmed with recent days?
Peace be to you.

Is your heart battered and bruised from loss?
Peace be to you.

Jesus’ invitation remains whether we feel ready or able to accept it or not. You may be like me today, too emotionally full, and physically tired to receive much. But not to worry. Like Mary weeping in the garden, Jesus waited until she was ready and then He spoke her name. He waited until she could receive…respond to Him. And he will wait for us too.

May God’s peace be yours today.


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In Authenticity
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