May 21, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – John 14:25-27 (NRSV)
I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 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.
No matter how dark it gets—even up to and including death itself—the peace of Christ is available to us, given anew over and over again by the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel readings for the first few Sundays of Easter take us through Jesus’s post-Resurrection appearances. However, Easter has more weeks than there are post-Resurrection appearance stories, wonderful as they all are, so what to ponder during the rest of Easter? The lectionary solves that problem by prescribing readings from Jesus’ Upper Room Discourse in John, the long sermon he gives to his disciples at the Last Supper shortly before he is crucified.
Today’s passage begins to look forward not only to Jesus’s death and resurrection but to what will happen afterward—the story we already know from Acts, most especially the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. While the word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible, it is passages such as this one that theologians in the first few centuries of Christianity turned to when they wanted to understand and systematize what the Bible was saying about a God who was Three in One—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The church in fact celebrates Trinity Sunday directly after Pentecost Sunday (I’ll be writing a Trinity Sunday devotional and we’ll talk more about that then.)
In some churches, this verse is quoted directly before people “pass the peace” as part of the liturgy before Communion. (What this looks like after two years of a pandemic is very different, of course. In my parish we’ve moved from pre-COVID handshaking to now gently bowing towards each other from a distance.) It serves as a reminder that the peace of the community is not something that we make up or achieve on our own, but is in fact the peace of Christ, given anew to us over and over again by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus knew that the next few days were going to look very dark for him and for his followers. He reminded those followers that such darkness was not the end. Yesterday we explored how Revelation reminds us that Jesus knows and ultimately governs the end of all things. Today’s reading reminds us that Jesus also owns and governs things much nearer in time and space.
Every tear will be wiped away and every sadness healed in the long run. And even in the short run, no matter how dark it gets—even up to and including death itself—the peace of Christ is available to us, given anew over and over again by the Holy Spirit. Will it be easy? No. Will the Triune God be with us? Yes.
How have you experienced the love of the Father?
How have you experienced the love of the Son?
How have you experienced the love of the Holy Spirit?
Today’s reading reminded me of Rich Mullins’ song “Peace” from his album A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band. The video is here and the lyrics are here. Receive this song as a blessing of peace over you from the Lord.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, give me your peace. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Farewell Words: Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17)
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Jennifer Woodruff Tait (PhD, Duke University) is the editor of and frequent contributor to Life for Leaders. She is also the managing editor of Christian History magazine and web editor for the Theology of Work Project, and a priest in the Episcopal Church. She has written a book of poetry, Histories of Us. Jennifer lives in Berea, Kentucky, with her husband, Edwin, and their two daughters.
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