Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My own peace I leave with you

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. (John 14.27)
On the final night of Jesus' earthly life, he blesses his friends with these words of peace. In the Church, we speak of God's peace as that "which passes all understanding." It doesn't make sense.

We are very rational people steeped in a culture grounded in scientific facts and knowledge. We have trouble with things which are not rational. Somehow, we've mistaken rational for real. If something doesn't make rational sense, it must not be real, right?


I tell folks I've tried rationality and found it's overrated. Truth is, there are many things irrational which are very, very real. The most obvious one is love. Anyone who has been in love can tell you there is a lot about love which is irrational. It isn't logical and doesn't always make sense.

Grace is irrational too. Why would God pour out grace on us? More specifically, why would God pour out grace on sinners ... especially the "really bad sinners" (of course I don't believe in gradations of sin so that makes us all "really bad sinners" ... but that's another post for another time).

Peace isn't rational either. Most people define peace is an absence of conflict. I'm not sure that's truly what peace is. Conflict is a means for change and transformation, so the absence of conflict is stagnation. I think peace is when we can be in the midst of conflict, but do it in such a way that allows us to see Christ in another with whom we disagree ... and in such a way as to honor their humanity which, in turn, honors God.

This week is Holy Week. It's the "high water mark" of the Christian year. It's not rational at all. The idea of a crucified God is pretty weird ... not at all rational. But God doesn't have to be rational to be real ... and neither to we.


Mrs. M said...

Thank you. I have such a hard time giving myself the freedom to let go of the rational. I appreciate the encouragement.

Virtual Vicar said...

You're welcome. I have problems letting go of it too. Guess that's a byproduct of both the Enlightenment and our modern scientific mindset.