...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, May 2, 2014

Peace is Possible

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27  I've said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.” John 16:32-33        
What would it mean to receive Christ's peace?

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19

Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:27

We're a multitasking, ADD culture. And fidgeting with many things challenges our brains and can jeopardize our physical safety. In a quiet moment alone, we may be especially confronted with the cacophony of our own racing thoughts. We can't run away from ourselves, no matter how good at avoidance we may be.

But while solitude can nurture and strengthen us if we let it, isolation is a captivity all its own. Isolation seems to have been a real temptation for the disciples in the post Easter narrative of John. After running scared, they were in hiding behind "locked doors." The natural response to fear is usually to run and hide.

Jesus always seems to show up, even through our locked doors. In John 3 and 4, Jesus enters into the shame of a Nicodemus and a nameless Samaritan woman. For Nicodemus, it was fear of being found out: he was a leading teacher and yet was coming to Jesus with total lack of answers about spiritual life with God. For the Samaritan woman, it was the addictive pattern of the past and another toxic relationship in a continuing cycle of brief and broken ones.

Yet our way of fixing things causes more, not less, pain. Into the mess that we create, Jesus Christ speaks his peace. The Spirit is breathed on the disciples, and even as the wind moves across the waters of Genesis 1, so are we are recreated in the presence of the living Christ. 

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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