As I read the gospel text for today as often happens, one phrase caught my attention. Today’s story is about seventy people being sent out in pairs to every town with various instructions about what to do and what not to do.
The sentence I spent time pondering is I think, perhaps, the most important sentence in the passage. It reads, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ (Luke 10:5).
What a lovely idea. Maybe, one that needs reviving in contemporary times. Sometimes when invited to someone’s home for dinner I take some flowers, chocolates, local coffee or some other token of appreciation. Other times, I just pop into a neighbour’s home for a cup of tea and simply bring a greeting. Whatever the occasion or the means of entering another’s home, imagine if each time we took a blessing of peace. Maybe it wouldn’t be the exact same words as used in the gospel, but the intention of bringing and giving peace.
Would that then influence conversations, set the tone for an afternoon and evening together? I would like to think so.
Personal peace is often a strange concept to express in words. It is much more of an inner knowing than a definition. I think most people know inwardly what it is, that sense of calm and well-being with an absence of strife. Andy and I have spent two weeks holidaying in our camper van. We headed for sunshine and the beach. Altogether, we stayed in four different campsites each brought us a sense of peace. We experienced the quiet of standing by the ocean with empty sands stretching in both directions or being by a lake without a ripple on the water. I posted a picture of one of the places we visited. A friend commented, “it looks peaceful.” My response was, “It is.” We felt peaceful.
Of course, the idea of “peace to this house” could be expanded into our whole sphere of life. Not just a blessing of peace to those whose homes are entered but to those met daily —at work, at the shops, on the street. I am sure if I lived daily giving out peace, peace would return to me and affect my life too.
And the idea can be expanded again and again, to those not met face to face. Nowadays many conversations take place over the internet for all to see. Many are fun and lighthearted, but sometimes I cringe when I read a comment intended to cause hurt to another. Why not replace causing harm with bringing a blessing of peace?
Currently much concern is being expressed about the treatment of those seeking refuge over borders. What an awful situation it is. Imagine if those seeking safety were met with a blessing of peace. How could unkind treatment ensue if that was first uttered?
Many other situations can be imagined where bringing that initial blessing of peace would change lives and situations — too numerous to mention!
So, for today, I’ll conclude by saying “peace to your house”.