“So here I am; I have had a crappy week and need some relief. In the middle of prayer at a small group I find myself asking God to speak to me through His Word. The words, “My peace I give you…” come into my head. So, I turn to John and read verse 27 of that fourteenth chapter and read it…”
John 14:27-13 NASB
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.”
I was thinking of three historical facts about ancient practices of Christians concerning reading the bible when I read this piece of scripture:
1. In reading the book read, think, pray, live by Tony Jones I have been introduced the the concept of lectio divina which literally translates as “sacred reading”. The concept is based the teachings of Guigo II in his book The Latter of Four Rungs. In this book he states that there are four practices, or labors, that monastics should follow in there search for the spiritual. These four practices are as follows: reading (lectio), meditation (meditatio), prayer (oratio) & contemplation (contemplatio). A quote from Jones says that “If lectio (reading) can be compared to tasting food then meditatio is like chewing.” This is akin to a mental breaking down of the scripture for spiritual digestion.
2. Now, I’m a big fan of Ignatius of Loyola, the catholic priest who established the Jesuit Order. He also wrote a book called Spiritual Exercises in which He goes on, at length, about meditation in which he encourages the reader to enter into the scripture by using their imagination to become part of the story.
3. Another saint, Thomas Aquinas, believed that a passage of scripture has four senses to it: the literal, the allegorical, the moral & the anagogical. The allegorical is defined as the figurative sense. It is like asking yourself; why was this thing said that God preserved it in this manner for us today and what is God saying with it that speaks down through the ages and circumstance?
So here I am; I have had a crappy week and need some relief. In the middle of prayer at a small group I find myself asking God to speak to me through His Word. The words, “My peace I give you…” come into my head. So, I turn to John and read verse 27 of that fourteenth chapter and read it. Peace… that is good, I have to remember God has given me peace. There is still a hunger in me though and I feel that God is saying something more to me. Reading to the end of the chapter, my eyes fall upon “Get up, let us go from here.”
What an odd statement. There is no followup explaination to it either. Something like, “So Jesus and the disciples got up and went on their way back to Jerusalem.” No, the very next verse is John 15:1 “I am the vine, you are the branches…”
Well that just does not make much sense, so I turn to the commentaries in the bible study section of crosswalk.com to see what the scholars have to say. Of course they are all in one accord. (Snicker.) Some think they are in Bethany others say the Upper Room and that the discouse over the next three chapters takes place in route to somewhere else. But it still nags at me that there is no explaination.
I decide to put my acedemic reading of Tony Jones, and his allusions to Guigo, Loyola & Aquinas, to the test. After rereading the text a few times I hone in on the word peace and the phrase “Get up, let us go from here.” Meditating on that I go over the scripture in my head again and again. I get the distinct feeling that God is speaking directly to me in this scripture. Not just timeless truths, oh yes, that too, but actually replying to my prayer.
In the breakdown, this what I think Jesus is saying to me, and maybe you too:
1.I give you my peace, a peace that is not of this world.
2.I do this because I am aware of your worries and distress, which is of this world, and do not wish these burdens for you.
3.Because of My sacrifice I can come to you in the Holy Spirit to give you My peace.
4.I show you that I knew all this would happen to me so that you can believe that I will not withhold the Holy Spirit from you.
5.Satan is in and of the world, but I am in you and you are of me. He as no power over Me, what happened at Calvary was the Father’s will so that the Holy Spirit could come to you.
6.I am here with you. If I am for you, tell me, who can stand against you? I know that you have had a bad week but I am here and I make everyday brand new, so listen to me when I say, “Get up, let us go from here.” Where ever you go, I am there with you and that makes anything possible.
I feel like I slipped into the muck and the mire over the weekend and really needed to be put back on some solid ground. That little bit of scripture sure did just that. Notice how other scripture started coming to mind during the meditation, especially in point 6. That’s cool, and to my mind, that’s real; as real as it gets. Truly, it is an amazing thing to have the God of all creation tell you, in essense, “Come on, let’s blow this popicle stand.”