On FaithWhen I was 4 years old some neighbor kids set up bases in the front yard of our friend John’s house so that we could play baseball.
By: Pastor Tom Murray, Lake County News Chronicle
When I was 4 years old some neighbor kids set up bases in the front yard of our friend John’s house so that we could play baseball. As John stepped up to the plate, his mom stuck her head out the door and said, “Oh no you don’t! You kids go down to the park and play. You’re going to break a window doing that.” When she shut the door John said, “Let’s keep playing. My dad’s at work. Let’s just make sure we hit the balls away from the house.”
As you might imagine, on the very first pitch, John hit a lazy pop fly that crashed right through his parent’s second story bedroom window. And just as that ball was sailing through the air, his dad pulled into the driveway in his ‘61 Buick.
In an instant all of us were running full speed, scattering in all directions and leaving John standing there alone with his bat in his hand. Not one of us hung around to tell his parents that it was our fault, too. I’m sure we were all a block away before his dad’s car door even shut behind him.
I sometimes think about that day when I read the gospel account of the passion of Jesus, because just when he needed his friends the most, they turned and ran like a bunch of scared kids and left him standing alone before the authorities. They were with him when times were great, but when it was time to stand and be counted, they disappeared. Not one of them had the courage to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body to give it a proper burial. Someone else wrapped him in linen and carried him to the cemetery.
And so, when the women came running up to them breathless, telling them that he was not dead but had risen, can you imagine what must have gone through those disciples’ minds? I sometimes wonder if Peter ran to the tomb out of fear as much as out of hope. If Jesus was alive, it meant that a whole new creation was at hand, and it meant that it had happened without them. For me, one of the most important moments in all of scripture happened when Jesus came and stood among those frightened and ashamed and confused and weary disciples, and breathed on them and said, “Peace be with you.”
One can only imagine the burden that was lifted off of their shoulders in that moment. Jesus was with them, and he wanted them back. He was still willing to call them his disciples. This beautiful moment connects the resurrection of Jesus to the rest of the New Testament that follows.
Jesus’ love and forgiveness overwhelmed those disciples, and changed them from what they had always been into what they now could be. From that moment on they were courageous, relentless, and filled with joy in their calling.
The good news of the gospel is that even when we fail in our calling as disciples, our crucified and risen Lord still comes to us and breathes on us and says, “Peace be with you.” God still comes into our lives and forgives us and calls us to be his followers. Just as those first disciples were transformed by the peace of God, we are now transformed from people who live in fear into people who live out our faith. Peace be with you! And may you share the joy of our resurrected Lord.
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