Words on the Word

Being at Peace

Acts 13:26-33: This message of salvation is meant for you.
John 14:1-6: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Today’s collect speaks of our mystical communion in Christ. It affirms that we live under the Father’s protection and asks that, there, we may ‘rejoice for ever unharmed’. Our Gospel begins with the words, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’. In a few moments, we shall wish one anther peace. 

All these formulas, which speak of being ‘unharmed’, ‘untroubled, and ‘peaceful’ point towards a profoundly Christian truth. But we must make sure we understand them correctly. They do not promise a carefree existence or an absence of pain. 

The collect reminds us that God’s protection was won for us by Christ’s Blood: it is inseparable from the mystery of the Cross. When, in the Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples not to be troubled, there are only eleven of them, no longer twelve: Judas has gone into the night on his mission of betrayal; Christ is on his way to Gethsemani. 

The Christian condition is not a life wrapped in cotton wool. We show ourselves Christians when we stand in the eye of the storm and yet are at peace. This is possible if we are truly one with Christ, whose invincible light shines through the darkness, whose ordering peace manifests itself out of chaos. 

The Good News of the Gospel is not that the world is OK — it clearly isn’t. The Good News is that the world has been saved and that we can freely be drawn into the work of salvation in Jesus, who is ‘working still’ (Jn 5.17) and who is our peace (Eph 2.14). 

Photograph: Alexandra Michalak

Deus, qui et libertatis nostræ auctor es et salutis, exaudi supplicantium voces, et, quos sanguinis Fílii tui effusione redemisti, fac, ut per te vivere et perpetua in te valeant incolumitate gaudere.

O God, author of our freedom and of our salvation, listen to the voice of our pleading and grant that those you have redeemed
by the shedding of your Son’s Blood may have life through you and, under your protection, rejoice for ever unharmed.