(Picture courtesy of America Airlines) "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid." - Jesus: (John 14:27)
- Dateline: Tampa International Airport, 7:00 AM
I'm writing this post waiting to board a flight to Kansas - via Dallas Fort Worth. Yes, I know what you're thinking: I wonder, did he remember his ruby slippers....? Ha ha; nice one.But I already tried that joke on the people who invited me to Kansas and they just ignored it, let it slip right by without comment. I'm guessing they've been over the whole Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz thing for some time now.
But I'm sitting here, pounding on this keyboard like someone who still hasn't quite made the transition from his manual typewriter, looking ahead and running through everything I have to do over the weekend. And, despite the frenetic rush through details and traffic and airport security, and notwithstanding the bona fide awful music mix dominating the background - I can honestly say I am experiencing an authentic peace.
I've got to tell you, this is a Jesus kind of peace. It's the kind of deep inner-soul conviction that Jesus is able to talk about with his friends just hours before his betrayal, arrest, mockery of a trial, humiliation and the unspeakable horror of death via crucifixion.
Interesting thought I'm having about the crucifixion at this moment. Jews were required to go through ritual cleansing before they could bring a sacrifice before God. But Jesus was bloody (unclean), Jesus had been manhandled by Gentiles (unclean). Jesus was stripped naked and publicly exposed (unclean). Jesus was not offered the opportunity to wash ritualistically (unclean). Jesus was - eventually - dead (as unclean as it gets). Yet he presented himself as an atonement,,. an offering... a sacrifice. And, let me say this, Jesus got the job done.
So I'm sitting in this uncomfortable seat out at Gate 77, contemplating my next cup of Starbucks - extra strong, and the sense of peace I'm experiencing has everything to do with the fact that "I know who holds the future (and I'm guided by God's hand"). Listening to God first thing in the morning, having already made plans for the day based on my conviction regarding what God wants me to be up to, gives me peace.
Peace is not simply resting in the presence of God so much as it is moving forward in the presence of God. Peace is about God-saturated behavior. Peace is a state of being more than a state of mind. Peace is an action word.
That's why Jesus said "Not like the world gives..." That's why my heart is seldom troubled any more. That's why I;m here at the airport. That's where Lent is taking me, one prayer, one conscious thought, one simple decision at a time.
PRAYER: We all have something to do today that is exclusively Kingdom behavior. Guide us in these few quiet moments to listen to your voice and to bring your kind of peace into this anxiety ridden world. Amen