Jesus, resurrected, appears standing in the middle of the locked room of fearful, terrorized people and says “Peace be with you”. I’m betting that their reaction was more like the first time you open a can of peanuts and out springs coils of snakes. Peace – what you talking about Willis, Peace?
Peace – you scared us, we watched you die man. We watched them beat you to a pulp and nail you to a cross. We saw you buried in a tomb. We came up here to this room, locked the doors, shut the windows and have been shaking in fear worse than a nervous dog on July 4 in Arnolds Park. And here you are coming like a hippy at a NRA conference saying – hey Peace Man! Are you serious?!?!
Peace be with us. How can there peace be with us, we just experienced in a really, truly horrible and visceral way just how corrupt, vicious and violent humankind can be and you want us now to have peace.
Peace in the Greek here is Eirene which means security, safety, community and tranquility. The furthest thing that the disciples were feeling in that moment was Eirene. And yet that is exactly what Jesus wanted to give them. Eirene. A community of security, safety and tranquility a peace that made no sense but was because Jesus was alive. The grave had a joke played on it, devil had a rejection, Get stuffed Satan – No no no not today death.
Eirene – That is what we have from Christ. This Peace does not mean we won’t have sorrow, or we wont’ have suffering. Like Christ we too have to live in a world that is corrupt, vicious and violent. And like Christ we do not have to give into that world but we can bring to the world a vision of peace, a community of Eirene that demonstrates love in the face of harm, forgiveness in the face of trespassing, transformation in the face of the death-dealing status quo, resurrection in the midst of death.
Jesus said, Eirene, Peace be with you. Despite your fear, despite your sorrow, despite the unfairness the world hands to you receive from the hand of God – Peace.
Poor Thomas, there is nothing worse than walking in a room where everyone is laughing and you don’t get the joke. Not only do you not laugh but you bring down the others. But Jesus loved him too and offered him the same peace. The same community, the same blessing, the same love and tranquility are given to Thomas and then extended to those who aren’t going to directly see the resurrection but will believe because they heard the good news.
The world still doesn’t get what the resurrection means. They still are living in the delusion of having to fight for love, for community, for peace and tranquility. When all these things are a free gift. Our joy is in showing and sharing the peace of God lived in a community of caring and tranquility. A community where it is safe to be yourself – your imperfect, searching for answers, having doubts and questions, facing temptations and sometimes losing, sometimes together and sometimes falling to pieces self that is beautiful and beloved and belongs here. And in that community the resurrected Jesus is alive saying Peace be with you. AMEM.