An Experience of Christ’s Peace
Chaplain Leigh Ann Min, M.Div., BCC
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
"While the two were sharing, with the disciples in the upper room, their experiences with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, “Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Luke 24:36 NRSV)
Do you ever have moments when you are alone and feel confused or lost? And when that happens, do you begin a conversation with yourself in your head or perhaps even out loud? This happened to me recently. I was leaving a graveside service and got lost in the cemetery on my way out (I have a terrible sense of direction and always rejoice when I have a navigator with me when I travel anywhere new). On this particular day, I was alone, hot, tired, and eager to get home. I was the first to leave the graveside service and therefore, had no one to follow out of the cemetery grounds. I had forgotten about how large the cemetery grounds were until I was driving out. The conversation in my head began:
This is NOT the way I came in. This pavement is fresh. I didn’t see that on my drive in. These are NOT the road markers I remember coming in. Should the numbers increase or decrease as I go toward the front entrance? I don’t remember the progression of numbers while coming in. Is this the direction toward the front? How will I get out of here? I don’t see anybody around that I can ask for directions. There goes a car. Are they coming in or going out? Should I follow them?
As the number of questions in my mind increased, so did my anxiety. And then, a bigger question came to mind: why did I come to this service in the first place? Just as I began to ponder “why,” part of the words from the minister’s benediction I had just heard came to mind: “as you go from this place, go with Christ’s peace.”
These powerful words in my moment of stress and anxiety changed my situation. It brought to mind the various times in scripture when Christ speaks of peace: as a greeting, as a charge, as a benediction, as a description of how we are to be in relationship with him, one another and ourselves. Only then was I able to refocus my thoughts, take a “higher point of view” and remember that I am never lost with God.
As I remembered and claimed Christ’s peace in my situation, my stress level decreased and I was able to become more thoughtful and present to my situation; present enough to look around and find clues about the cemetery in relationship with the surrounding street. Interestingly, the way out was NOT the way I came in, but it was on the same road and further down the street at the exact intersection of the street where I needed to make a turn toward home.
God promises to travel life’s journey with us but often, like the two on the road to Emmaus, we are so anxious about the events which have happened, are happening or might happen in our lives that we cannot experience the joy and fullness of life. Thanks be to God for He never tires of reminding us that we can be at peace in his presence and trust him to remain with us and lead us through whatever we experience in life.