John 14: 23-29 (NRSV)
Verse 23Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Verse 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
Verse 25"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. Verse 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Verse 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Verse 28You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. Verse 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
In his long farewell discourse in John 13-17 Jesus makes it clear that he is going to his death. He cares about his disciples and prepares them in many ways for what is to come. Throughout this goodbye he has repeatedly stressed the importance of love in the community, and in today’s reading he continues that emphasis.
Here he assures them of God’s continued presence with them through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The Spirit’s presence is tied to a special kind of peace Jesus gives. His peace is not the usual peace of lack of conflict or violence, although it includes those. Rather, his peace is a fearless, untroubled relationship with the loving God. Before awesome God there is peace, love, and forgiveness. Therefore, we can rest from this peace as we go into the tumult of life. Peace—not fear, wrath, or anxiety—now defines all our relationships.
Mighty Maker, Awesome Lord, Comforting, Directing Spirit, Bearers of forgiving peace, please open our hearts, minds, and hands to receive and use your peace as we share it with those suffering from injustice. Please work through us all to express and activate your incredible love for all. Amen.