Daily Devotion 31 March 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Philippians 4:1-9 ‘Parting Words of Peace’

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

John 14: 27
‘Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give’

No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace‘PEACE’ is a popular word. We have peace talks, treaties, marches, protests, prayers for world peace. We have a deep need for ‘peace’, but what do we think it is? A cessation of war or hostilities, everything going as we want it to go? This is not necessarily what other people want! Our very differences can bring conflict – those who live in hostile environments may never have known peace in these terms. In the 1st Century there was ‘Pax Romana’ – peace won and maintained by force. So, is peace an unattainable target? In worldly terms it may well be, BUT the peace which Jesus gave as his ‘parting gift’ to the disciples certainly is.

Jesus’ words come in the final hours he has with His disciples. The Passover meal has been eaten; he has washed the disciples’ feet; Judas has been given a last opportunity to change his mind, but rejects it. Jesus now has this time to prepare the disciples for what is to come – the devastating news that he is ‘going away’. He knows they are troubled but tells them to believe and trust in God. He then reveals that His departure will have major benefits for them: it will secure eternal life for those who believe in Him and complete his revelation of the Father. Jesus’ final act of ‘obedience unto death’ is one of infinite love. It will equip them for living and serving his mission in the world through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will in turn give them major blessings, including the ‘gift of his own peace.’

After the Resurrection, Jesus repeats this ‘giving of peace’ (John 20:19, 21,26). This peace for us is born from our personal relationship with Jesus and deepens as we surrender more and more of our life to Him and can be experienced even in the midst of deepest troubles, pain, suffering or conflict. We often ‘share the peace’ with each other at the end of services and other meetings or the minister/leader gives the Benediction: ‘The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7).

(StF 712)

Lord, please help us to:

Put peace into each other’s hands and like a treasure hold it,
protect it like a candle-flame with tenderness enfold it.
Put Christ into each other’s hands, He is love’s deepest measure:
in love make peace, give peace a chance, and share it like a treasure. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Carol Jewell.
Hymn words quoted are by Fred Kaan © 1989, Stainer & Bell Ltd. 23 Gruneisen Road, London N3 1DZ www.stainer.co.uk.

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356