“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”. After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord (John 20:19-20)”
As we begin the first week after our Easter celebration, there may not be much that has changed from the weekend. Since our Easter was a bit out of the ordinary, there was no major traveling that took place, and to some extent, there may not have been any major adjustments made to celebrate this year’s Easter. The same could be said about the text we hear from John’s gospel. It is the same text that is read every year just after the initial Easter Celebration.
The disciples are in a locked room due to fearing responses from other Jews after what has just taken place. We hear how Jesus enters through these locked doors, proclaims “Peace be with you”, and then shows himself to the disciples. To many of us, this has become a customary text to hear. As Lutherans, we also have become accustomed to the phrase “Peace be with you” since we have a segment of worship solely dedicated to sharing peace with one another. Yet, during this time of social distancing and isolation, I believe that this text may have a deeper connective meaning for us all.
While our doors are not specifically “locked”, we are in a stay at home order – essentially giving us the feeling of being locked inside our homes. Surrounding us is this virus that goes about somewhat “unidentifiable” affecting people across communities, states, nations, and the world. We carry a mixed sense of fear and uncertainty. However, God’s word still comes to us – Peace be with you. An invitation to experience God’s peace during this chaos. An opportunity to take hold of something bigger than ourselves. The proclamation that can bring joy to us just like the disciples.
What does “peace” look like when there are many experiencing suffering and pain? What does “peace” look like when we are unaware of what is to come next? For the disciples, this “peace” was the awareness that Jesus was alive and had overcome the power of death, sin, and evil. While they were unsure of what would come next for them, they were offered God’s peace to provide comfort.
Whether you have read the text from John’s gospel several times, or are hearing it for the first time, may the words “Peace be with you” resonate with you on this day. As another day goes by where we try to go about our everyday tasks, may we experience Jesus’ words in this day. With many doing what they can to provide for others during this time, may they hear Jesus’ words of hope.
Jesus’ resurrection marked victory over the power of death, provided forgiveness for our sins, and allows us to live each day with the hope of eternal life. Though there continues to be darkness, death, and uncertainty, Jesus comes to us where we are and proclaims, “Peace be with you”.
Pastor Arlyn ><>