Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, October 26, 2020
Opening Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Collects)
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen
Bible Reading – John 14:25-31 (taken from the Daily Lectionary for October 28th)
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. (English Standard Version)
Devotional – Peace in Our Time
In 2020 we lost the great Rock n Roll artist, Eddie Money of 70’s and 80’s fame. Maybe it is a little stretch to call him “great”, but he did have some hits over those two decades, such as “I Wanna Go Back”, “Two Tickets to Paradise”, “Think I’m in Love”, and “Baby Hold On.” One of his lesser known songs is titled “Peace in Our Time.” In the song, Money conveys the sentiment we all share; the hope of finding peace in our time. Undoubtedly, in the 80’s when this song was written, he had the cessation of hostilities between The Soviet Union and the United States in mind.
Most of us have a deep desire for finding peace in our time. Whether it be peace in the world, peace in our country, or just a deep and abiding peace in our hearts, we all want peace to reign. We want peace in the midst of this pandemic, we long for peace in the midst of all the social unrest, and we pray for a peaceful election in a couple of weeks.
In our reading from John 14, Jesus had some very specific words for us concerning this peace that we are longing for. In verse 27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” From this verse we learn three important lessons about peace in our time.
#1 – Peace is our legacy in Jesus
The chief characteristic of the Christian life is peace. It is what Jesus told us He leaves with those of us following Him by faith. When we make a decision to follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we should expect to find peace in our lives. But how exactly do we go about finding that peace? Well that leads us to the second lesson.
#2 – Peace is a gift from God
Jesus said, “my peace I give to you”, which means two things. Number one, peace is a gift of God and not something that we simply must find within ourselves. Number two, the peace that we are given is none other than the same peace that Jesus Himself possessed. The peace that Jesus possessed was found in a perfect relationship with His loving father. When we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus our sins are forgiven. The dividing wall between us and God has been removed. There is no longer any hostility between us and God. The Apostle Paul said it this way in Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” The peace that Jesus gives us is reconciliation with our loving Heavenly Father.
#3 – Peace is the free gift of God’s grace
The third lesson about peace that Jesus is teaching us is that this peace is not given or received in the same way that the world gives and receives peace. The peace the world offers always comes with conditions. We must live up to those conditions or face the consequences of renewed hostility. People go looking for inner peace through various spiritual techniques, but those moments of peace are ever fleeing. As soon as we fail to do the right techniques, we lose our peace and are again in need of doing all the right things to find it again. Jesus says that His peace is different because it is a free gift that we are given by grace through faith. When we possess Jesus’ peace it is abiding and freeing. We no longer have to worry about the future because we know that our ultimate well-being has been bought and paid for by our Savior.
If you find yourself getting sucked into the worries and anxieties of this world and consumed with doubt about the future, it is time to go back to John 14:27. Peace is ours in Jesus. It is a gift from God to us. And, it is given freely by the grace of God to all who put their faith in Jesus.
Closing Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Occasional Prayers)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is error, truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.