Saturday, June 3, 2017

Gospel text for Pentecost 4 June 2017

John 20:19-23        When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Reflection      How can we possibly respond to Jesus’ challenging commission, “Peace I leave with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you?… Forgive the sins of any and they are forgive…” I do not know about you but I want to say, “Jesus, are you kidding me? You are sending me to bring peace and reconciliation to all people? to forgive the sins of anyone, really? Have you not been paying attention to the news? Have you any idea what is going on in our world? The very thought of me bringing peace and forgiveness makes my stomach leap into my throat. This is hard to swallow.” 

Then I remember. This is not about us individual persons making righteous judgments, fixing people or the world. It is about us remembering that everything that is, is already part of God. This is reality. God is reality. In the words of Philip K. Dick, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away."* All we need to do is sit still in reality, in  the middle of our storm tossed minds and emotionally fraught bodies and wait, wait for the peace that is evidence of God with us. Wait until we hear our hearts beating and the weighty, dependable peace rooted deep inside will rise to guide us to be the peace we desire for our world. 

When we stop struggling against reality as it is, we find ourselves steeped in the Reality of God, claim our place in the Mystery of the Holy Trinity and proclaim with our brother Jesus, “ I am in the Father, and you in me and I in you.” (John 14.20) We are One, all people and all of creation. Nothing is not part of God. God is Reality. This is spiritual freedom, freedom from identification with our thoughts, feelings and desires about God or Reality. This is freedom to be the peace we are sent to make known in all the world.   

For an interesting conversation about the relationship of Science, Religion and Reality please listen to Michael Dowd's Ted Talk by clicking on the top right of this page. 

* How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later, 1978
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