Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5; John 14:23-29 (or John 5:1-9)
“May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.” – Irish Blessing
Does Jesus not keep his promises? He assured us that he would give us peace (John 14:27). So what happened? We know that God’s time is not our time. But over two thousand years waiting! Why are there still wars? Why are there people being shot on our streets every day, on our streets and in our homes and sometimes in our schools? Why across the world do more than 29,000 children under five die each day from hunger? Enough already. Jesus, where is the peace you promised? Putting a stop to these things, and many more examples, would be the kind of peace the world often talks about but does not deliver. Sadly, we will always have violent tragedies. But Jesus says that he does not give us the kind of peace the world offers (John 14:27). The peace Jesus gives is not freedom from conflict, turmoil, chaos, havoc or tumult. He gives us inner peace and tranquility in the midst of disorder and uproar. We all know that holding on to this kind of peace is extremely daunting when we are the victims or the loved ones of victims. But amazingly it does happen. An example is the City of Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty 6 and 7 year old children were shot and killed in their classroom along with 6 adult staff. After all these years the wounds and scars are still in their hearts. However, through their tears and horror they were able to find solace reflecting on lessons from heroes and young innocence. In spite of tragedy, or because of tragedy, they came together, experiencing multiple random acts of kindness. Jesus did promise that the Holy Spirit would be sent (John 14:26). The Helper (see Greek below) continues to foster the peace that the world cannot deliver. Jesus keeps his promises.
In John 14:26 Jesus says his Father will send the Holy Spirit. He calls the Spirit the “Advocate.” The Greek word is variously translated helper, intercessor, comforter, counselor, or simply transliterated “paraclete.” The word actually comes from the legal system of the day used in court trials. It is what we would call the defense attorney. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the one who is on our side when we are in trouble.
In John 14:27 Jesus says don’t let our hearts be “afraid.” Just about every translation says “afraid.” The common word for afraid in Greek is not used here. The word used is much stronger. It means don’t be a “coward.” This is the only place in the whole New Testament where this word is used.
Winds of distress come.
Then blows the breath of peace holy.
Oh, Peace Spirit come.