May 1, 2016 — Sixth Sunday of Easter
Our Gospel Reading from John 14 recounts what Jesus says to His disciples as He prepares to leave them. Specifically the Lord says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” You may be aware that in Jesus’ time (as well as in many parts of the world today) the common greeting was Shalom. That means, of course, “peace.” It is nonetheless not only a greeting but it is also what people said when they parted.
Jesus makes a point of making it clear to His followers and to us that He is not just saying “Peace” the way people usually do, but from Him it is filled with more strength and meaning. It is “Not as the world gives” that Jesus is saying “Peace be with you.” Jesus is telling us that He through the Holy Spirit will always be with us, stand next to us, and strengthen us. That is something we must believe. Trusting in the Lord is a key aspect of stewardship.
In our world we are more likely to say “Good-bye” than “Shalom.” However, even that has a meaning with a much deeper message. “Good-bye” derives from the farewell “God be with you” or “God be with ye.” Thus, when we say “good-bye” we are also giving someone the same message that Jesus gives us. God is with us — always. He loves you.