My peace I give to you (Jn 14: 23-31)
I was thinking tonight as I read the story about the Chinese government not granting permission or at least requiring the Buddhists of Tibet to secure permission before they can reincarnate. At first reading of this story, and I am sure it is through my western mind I found a way to chuckle at the absurdity of this, then I started thinking about the millions
of followers of the Dalai Lama and the path they find them selves on. I write this not as a slam against the Buddhist tradition but on the contrary as a reflection on Jesus and “My peace I give to you (Jn 14: 23-31)”
So often we neglect to pray for things like this that do not affect us directly but wow do we ever pray for those things that seem to reach down you our circle of influence or those we care for. I was talking to a friend tonight and he asked to keep a mutual friend lifted up in prayer, I will but it got me thinking about all those who we never think to lift up,
those we never cross pats with, those we will never see, never look in the eye. One of the quotes I remember seeing is from the Dalai Lama,”If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”
Christ is the ultimate compassion, He showed it towards me in allowing be to one of His, no fear of having to get permission to be reborn, to enter into His peace, to share in His kingdom, to enter into His gates. I need to revisit where I show compassion, how I show compassion, how is it manifest in my life.
One of my favorite writers is Patrick, The Apostle of Ireland.One of the things he writes about is the contrast between heaven and hell and what awaits those that do not turn to Christ.He points out that it is Gods compassion and mercy that is shown to us through Jesus substitutionary work on the cross, talk about compassion. But His compassion is of no effect if we do not accept it. It is our acceptance of His gift that should compel us to share it with others, if we do not share it we are no better than the Chinese government, they do not grant permission for reincarnation and we do not show compassion by keeping the good news of Jesus to ourselves. Remember”For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works,(Eph. 2:8,9) It is our response to the compassionate gift of Jesus that should compel us to share and at the very least pray for those we will never see, anything else would be a surrender of the great commission.
At the end of Patrick’s life he spoke these chilling words.”And if ever I have done any good for my God Whom I love, I beg Him to grant me that I may shed my blood with those exiles and captives for His name, even though I should be denied a grave or my body be woefully torn to pieces limb by limb or wild beasts or the fowls of the air devour it. I am firmly convinced that if this should happen to me I would have gained my soul together with my body. (Conf. 59)”
Patrick was not laying down a directive of what he hoped would happen to him, he was only comparing that fate to the fate that would fall on those who never came to know the Christ, The Redeemer, The Son of God, Jesus. For Those of us who follow Jesus remember “For on that day we will undoubtedly rise in the brightness of the sun, that is in the glory of Christ Jesus our redeemer as children of the living God’ (Conf. 59).”
Jesus no more wants us to shed blood for Him, He did not want Patrick to shed blood for him, Jesus who holds all life in His care had no plans for Patrick to shed his blood. Instead, I think He wants us to try to share this concept with others “My peace I give to you (Jn 14: 23-31)”
Patrick wrote to his friends back in Rome reminding them the end will come someday and to remember it is Christ that is in control, The Gospel of Christ will never fail.
We need no permission to enter into His rest, we only need accept His gift.That needs to be shared with others and a good entry point for this conversation is when we see news stories such as these.
Enjoy your work week