Peace be with you and also with you is now common place mantra used in Christian church services, where at some place in the service you are encouraged to stand and address the people around you with the words “peace be with you”.
How can we be at peace when we are sinners!
Moments before being provided this invitation to address our neighbours what was I thinking about, were my thoughts Christian thoughts?
Driving to church was I a Christian driver, allowing others to merge, driving at speed limit and following the other rules of the road?
In my preparation for church was I without sin or did I speak harshly to members of my family, did I contemplate not going because I am so busy?
What is this peace we are offering to each other?
A beginning can be found in Acts 5:31
God has exalted Jesus to his right side as leader and savior so that he could enable Israel to change its heart and life and to find forgiveness for sins.
Forgiveness of my sin is not to be earned it is a gift to be found and found again anew every moment of our human lives. It is not like an Easter egg hunt, you are never too old to go in search of God’s forgiveness, and God’s forgiveness will never run out.
Revelation 1:7 begins to answer the second question who is entitle to find God’s forgiveness, entitle to God’s peace?
Look, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him.
So inclusive is God's promise of forgiveness that even those who pierced the side of his son on that fateful day are welcome to be with God in glory forever.
God’s forgiveness is infinitely available to all people every moment of their lives.
Finally, John 20:29 speaks directly to our doubt, or unbelief in Jesus’ address to Thomas.
Jesus replied, "Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don't see and yet believe."
The peace that we offer to others and are given exchanged offer is the knowledge that this human life will pass away and we have an eternal home with our God and Saviour, we can have peace against that day.
In writing this I was challenged with the following question.
Think about the most heinous person you have had the misfortune to cross paths with and now consider how you will feel when you step over the threshold of the gates of heaven and the first person to greet you is them?
Let every living thing praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6
Lectionary scriptures: Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, John 20:19-31