I have been convinced for a long time that one of the most forgotten, unclaimed messages from Jesus was his teaching about peace. I have often been nudged with the thought: what if I lived as though I really believed his words? The sayings about peace definitely rank up there with words we hear Jesus say but don’t live out of. When we finally meet face-to-face I just KNOW God will say, “Wow! I never meant it to be that hard! I was wrapped around you like Saran Wrap but you never took comfort from it! My peace was always there.”
At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us many important instructions on how to help us live without his daily, earthly presence—one of the most significant was the teaching about Divine peace: “Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you.” He is not saying, “someday when you are really mature I will give you some of my peace.” He is saying that peace is his gift and it HAS been given. He continues: “I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.” So what is the difference? I think the peace our secular world promises is conditional. It occurs when all problems are solved, when you accumulate enough possessions for security, when you’ve achieved the perfect (and beautiful) body, the perfect soul mate, perfect family and well-behaved children, and so on.
The secular notion of peace is based on achievements, success, accomplishments—and is only possible if you manage to dodge any suffering or loss. The peace Jesus offers IS radically different. It’s peace in the MIDST of suffering, in the midst of the storm. Like in the consoling story of the storm on the lake, Jesus gets in the boat with the disciples. Walking over the churning waters, through frightening winds, he comes to reassure them (and us): “Get ahold of yourselves. It is I. Do not be afraid!” At the Last Supper Jesus repeats those words: “Do not be distressed or fearful.”
So there it is: God telling us how the journey through life should/could be—without distress or fear! I suspect there is a whole lot more Divine peace, support, and solace available to us than most of us dream—or access. I suspect there’s a bottomless sea of Divine consolation and peace under us, around us, and supporting us at all times.