A sermon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22, 2022

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

“I do not give to you as the world gives.”

“Peace I leave with you.”


We long, desperately, for peace in this creation.

We long, desperately, for that peace which passes all understanding.

We long, desperately, for a peace that quiets the world around us.

We long, desperately, for a peace that can only be known when all people know justice, where all people are treated with the inherent dignity they have as a child of creation, where no systems of oppression seek to persecute and destroy, where war is a distant memory of a troubled time, where love of neighbor is not just a call of the Christian follower by the expected way of society.

The peace of Christ is set apart from this world we inhabit.

This is not to say that creation in and of itself creates discord, far from it actually, which is likely why those of us who call the Pacific Northwest home find such connection to God in the natural beauty that surrounds us on all sides, because the creation holds that peace of Christ within it, calling to us, driving us into creation to experience serenity.

So many people in the Pacific Northwest are not followers of Christ, believers of God, members of a church or faith tradition.

Many people in the Pacific Northwest keep those who are members of a Christian church in particular at arms length at best.

And yet, our hiking trails, waterways, mountains, random forests, campgrounds and every other space of natural beauty present in this part of the world are full of those drawn out to seek the peace of creation, to seek the quiet of creation, to seek serenity through contemplation and connection to creation.

What drives them to seek these spaces?

It’s not a desire to connect with God in God’s creation.

It’s not a desire to worship God for this beautiful gift we have received, to offer thanksgiving for the opportunity we have to access some of the most beautiful spaces of creation on this earth.

It is a desire to seek peace, but why?

Why seek peace if it isn’t driven by faith, by a desire to connect to God?

“I do not give to you as the world gives.”

The world, the part of creation that is us, living and cohabitating and moving and bumping into and creating friction with one another.

It is this world that disrupts our lives.

Creation has been taken advantage of by the world. It has seen systems of oppression, systems of power, systems of hate, systems of stress and anxiety, placed onto it by those who sought to build themselves up to the detriment of others, to build themselves up by intentionally oppressing others, to build themselves up through unleashing hate and fear into this creation.

This is the world that we must move within.

This is the world that drives our siblings in creation who do not know Christ, do not know God (at least as we know God) out into the natural beauty of creation, seeking peace because there is no peace in the world.

I get it.

I too find peace in creation.

I celebrate the peace I find in creation, I am joyful for its presence in my life, even if I don’t make it out into it as much as I’d like.

And, I am heartbroken that so many of our immediate neighbors in this world know that they must seek peace in their lives, so they literally run for the hills, trying to capture as much peace as possible before being hurled back into the fray when the weekend ends.

I am heartbroken because there is a different way.

There is a different way to fill your cup, to find and know peace in your life, to see this beautiful gift of creation as a special place of connection, but not the only place of connection.

It is the way that we know as followers of the risen Christ, as followers of a Christ who has fulfilled his promise to us, who has given us a gift in the call that we have received to follow him.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

We take this peace of Christ with us every week when we leave this place.

The eucharist for me is a tangible acceptance of the peace of Christ offered to me, a peace that is only accessed through Christ’s sacrifice for us, a peace that is only accessed through our connection to Christ in feasting on the word and the sacrament as often as we can manage.

Thank God for this peace that is offered here each week.

Thank God that Christ has given his peace to us.

This world is hard enough.

This world gives by taking away.

This world gives by grinding us down.

This world gives by burning us out.

This world gives by threatening us, threatening our loved ones, threatening those who are oppressed and persecuted for being an other, especially in America for being something other than a straight White Christian cis-gender man.

This world gives us anxiety and dread and drives us to hate our siblings in this world. It drives us to think all others in this world are stupid idiots while we are at the pinnacle of human intelligence. It encourages us to spit vitriol and judgment and hatred against one another. It wants us to be at odds with one another, perpetually in a self-feeding cycle of fear masquerading as machismo, as superiority, as better than.

Thank God that Christ has offered us a different way.

Thank God that Christ has given his peace to us.

It isn’t always easy to break away from this world that gives and gives and gives, anxiety, persecution, fear.

It traps us within and tempts us to give into these cycles of evil.

It is through Christ, through the peace of Christ that is given to us, that we can break out of this world, that we can know a different way, that we can know a way that fills us, that is always available to us, whether on the mountaintop or sitting in the middle of stop-and-go traffic (a rather insidious form of evil).

Let us together connect with the peace of Christ that is offered here each week.

Let us invite our neighbor to connect with the peace of Christ that is offered here each week.

Let us teach our neighbors that there is a different way of being in this world.

One where we still enjoy getting out into creation to seek peace, but knowing that in that seeking we are simply topping off our cups that are filled here in community with one another each week.

I want to close today with the Collect for Peace from our Morning Prayer liturgy. Let us offer this prayer in the sure understanding that Christ’s peace is always with us, and that is Good News which must be shared.

Let us pray:

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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