Across the Pastor’s Desk: Everything is going to be all right

Published 8:00 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Kenneth Jensen

A commercial airline pilot made a really bad landing. The tires on his plane met the runway with a jarring thud!

Kenneth Jensen

Company policy dictated the captain greet each passenger as they disembarked with a smile and say, “Thank you for flying with us today.” 

In light of the bad landing, he expected some annoyed passenger would make a smart remark.

But no one seemed to mind except for one elderly lady walking with a cane. The last to exit the cabin, she approached the captain and said, “Sonny, mind if I ask a question?”

“Why no, Ma’am. What is it?” he responded.

“Did we land,” she asked, “or were we shot down?”

We have days when we feel as though we have been shot down. Life is not going well for us. We feel defeated. We are anxious what tomorrow will bring. We need someone to assure us, “It will be OK.”

Such was the situation for Jesus’ disciples in John, chapters 13-14.  Previously Jesus had warned them their journey to Jerusalem would culminate in his death.  

As they joined in a final meal together, reality was setting in. Jesus announced that whomever (Judas) received the bread dipped in the dish would betray him.  

After Judas left the room, Jesus told the remaining 11 he would remain with them for only a short time. Then he added, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” 

Peter resisted.  “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

Jesus replied, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 

The future appeared dim.  

Jesus sought to reassure them they would be OK.  He continued, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27.

Jesus would make brief post-resurrection appearances prior to his ascension (which we observe next Thursday). He would often greet them saying, “Peace be with you.” 

Jesus did not promise the disciples a rosy future. Their challenges would dwarf ours. What he did promise was to send the holy spirit who would give them the comfort, confidence and courage to carry on his ministry.  It was going to be OK.  

In the eyes of many, peace is the absence of conflict, the end of feuding. But maybe peace is much more than curtailing the negative. Maybe it is something all its own.  

Maybe peace is an attitude, which transforms something negative into something positive and marvelously possible.  Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he said, “My peace I give to you.  I do not give as the world gives.” When life causes a bad landing, may we find our peace in him.

Kenneth Jensen is a retired ELCA pastor living in Albert Lea.