God's peace
November 18, 2013
by Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Apostolic Lutheran Church, Kingston

“And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” Exodus 12:26-27

“Then, the same day, at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, ‘Peace be unto you.’” John 20:19

In our youth, we learn certain behaviors by being taught, as well as by observing how people relate to us and with one another. Our parents both instructed us, as well as modeled the type of behavior that they wished to instill into us and into our lives at an early age.

Sometimes, we continue to do things without ever coming to understand why we do it. The Lord recognized the tendency of this happening in the life of his people and so he instructed them to be ready to provide the answer to the young ones when they asked why the rituals that they do in their worship of the Lord are done. The observance of the Passover pointed to the physical deliverance of their nation by the Lord from the slavery that they had been under in Egypt.

At times, I am asked a similar question by people who are not familiar with a long-term custom that has been handed down over the years in the Apostolic Luthern Church wherein there is a handshake with a greeting of “God’s peace.” In response to this question, I usually point to the greeting that Jesus gave to His disciples after He had risen from the dead, appearing before them who were huddled behind closed doors in fear that perhaps they would be put to death next. They were afraid . . . but our Lord greeted them with these words, “Peace be unto you.”

I go on to explain that because Jesus suffered our death, was buried, and arose on the third day, on Easter morning, God was now at peace with humankind and Jesus desired the disciples to be the first recipients of this informative and graceful greating. Jesus was informing them that they had no reason to fear their God, for His wrath against sin was appeased, He was at peace with them and it was full of grace because He desired that they would come to know and experience the fullness of the loving kindness and favor of God through Himself (Jesus).

Jesus came to gather people for His Father, and we are called to imitate Him, through extending the peace of God to all we have opporunity to do so.

God’s peace to you today! May those words, which are grounded in the grace of God through Jesus the Christ, and which come from the heart of our Father God, speak peace into your heart and soul today.

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