PEACE AND FORGIVENESS, by Kayla McClurg
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together,with the door locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you . . . And with that he breathed on him and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Over and over it happens. The familiar ground upon which we walk erupts, and we are heaved into quavering knees lockdown. What we can depend on is that Jesus will find a way to interrupt our fear and bring us into a deeper experience of peace. Not a peace that pats us on the back and wishes us well. No, the peace Jesus brings is not for the quieting of our private storms, for calming our personal anxiety so we can get a little rest. The kind of peace he brings into that locked post-resurrection room, the disciples huddled in fear, carries both a gift and an assignment. He breathes on them the Holy Spirit, and reminds them of their calling to forgive.
Perhaps we have experienced this ourselves, how pain and fear can either shut us down or pry us open to Spirit, how despair can be the gateway to deeper darkness or deeper journey. The unthinkable happens and we are brought low. Will we become enmeshed in our hurt, pick at it continually, nurture it as the central story of our lives—or will we turn our faces toward the breakthrough, find in it our next calling?
The nature of the journey is that we will wrestle sometimes with fear; we will lock down our minds and hearts. The state of the world, our communities, our own trials and unfulfilled dreams, will blind us to the breakthrough. We long for peace, for evidence of the resurrection, yet we are apt to miss it because it shows up as an assignment—to forgive. We struggle to find peace in our lives, in our world, because we do not understand yet that peace is the by-product of being sent as Jesus was sent. It is the fruit of humility and self-sacrifice. We can learn to believe in what we cannot see; we can practice what we have not yet learned: forgiving ourselves, forgiving one another, making real God’s life in the world.
This devotional was written by Kayla McClurg and published on Inward Outward, the website of the Church of the Saviour in Washington D.C.