John 14:27 NKJV
Good Monday morning, from Elizabeth Baker.
While it could be argued that Jesus left many gifts on earth, two seem especially fitting as gifts of remembrance and were given on His last night. The first gift was the ceremony of Communion. All Christians are familiar with this great gift. Yet, a second gift was given a short time later but we seldom think about this gift even though it is commonly experienced. The Message puts it clearly when it translates John 14:27, “That’s my parting gift to you. Peace.”
Parting gifts serve as reminders. A ring or scarf or letter held in the hand becomes a trigger making yesterday new and fresh again. These kinds of gifts are loving, common, and even needed if the absence is going to be long.
It’s not surprising that as Jesus prepared to leave this world, he thought of parting gifts and left two special ones behind. As the disciples touched each one, they experienced his love new and fresh. So do we.
A child clinging to the scarf of an absent parent; a lover turning the ring given by a far off lover; a friend reading the letter of a distant companion all experience a special connection to the one not physically present. Miles and time shrink and the beloved is brought just a little closer.
While we have yet to see the face of Jesus or hear his voice, experiencing his parting gift makes it a little easier to wait while peace brings his reality near.
As Christian writers, we strive for excellence in all our words, but not every sentence is written for publishers with a Christian world view. Advertising copy, editing, fillers, magazine articles, even some books we write may contain nothing that specifically identifies our faith. Or, we may find ourselves writing for a publisher with whom we have significant theological or denominational differences. It is not always easy to know the line between giving grace to those of a different persuasion and being unfaithful to our own code.
There are many joys connected with practicing the peace of God but one of the most assuring is when we must make a decision and are not sure where to draw the line. If we have walked in his peace, frequently experience his peace and can identify his peace, we are more likely to recognize the answer when we pray, “Which way, Lord?” and that familiar, gentle, feeling rolls in. It’s the practical fulfillment of a promise given one night two thousand years ago.