July 7, 2013
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
In today’s gospel Jesus talks about peace in a very peculiar way. He describes peace in a tangible form almost like a commodity that we possess—a peace we can give and take back again. He says to the disciples that when they enter the house they should say, “Peace be to this house.” If a peaceable person lives there, their peace will rest on that person. But if not, it will return to them. So what kind of peace is this, that one can give and take back again as one would a coin or a piece of bread? It is a peace that flows from our relationship with God. The key characteristic of this peace is that it is moveable. We can give it and then take it back again.
Peace is universally recognized as harmony, goodness, and union with others. When we say to someone, “I would like to be your friend,” that is an offer of peace. When we say to someone, “Can I work with you?” “Will you respect me?” “Can you accept help from me?” that too is an offer of peace. All of these invitations ask someone to share harmony, goodness and union with us. This is something that all of us desire. But the peace that we normally offer is different from the peace Jesus describes. This is because the peace we normally give is not moveable. When the peace we offer is not accepted, when our invitations are rejected, we often discover that our peace becomes stuck. Instead of coming back to us, our peace dies in the rejection. Instead of regaining our peace, we find ourselves caught up with anger and depression and self doubt about our worth and our value. The people who reject our peace begin to have authority over us. They take control and begin to shape the way that we think and the way that we see ourselves.
The peace that Jesus offers us is not like this brittle peace that breaks in the presence of rejection. The peace that Jesus offers us is a moveable peace which we can give and take back again without being broken. From whence does the freedom and the strength of the peace that Jesus offers us come? It comes from our knowledge of knowing God’s love for us and accepting it.
The disciples in today’s gospel have a moveable peace because they know that they have been sent, that they are in a relationship with Christ, and that they are secure in his love. We too then must ground ourselves in God’s love for us. We must claim our identity as beloved daughters and sons always believing that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. When we ground ourselves in that way our peace becomes movable.
We can say, “I’d like to be your friend,” “I’d like to work with you,” “Is it possible that I could help?” And if that offer is rejected our peace will come back to us because our peace does not depend on the love, acceptance or estimation of others. Our peace is grounded in God’s acceptance and love of us.
So work towards a moveable peace. Ground yourself in God’s love for you and claim your identity as God’s daughter or son. Secure in that love, then go out and give your best. Offer others your peace. “Do you want my love?” “Will you accept my help?” “Do you see me as valuable?” And if others say, “No,” your peace will come back to you. It will come back to you not so that you can keep it. But so that in time, you can offer it again to someone else.