By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Peace be with you
Christina Schoenwetter

Every year of the three-year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary, we have the biblical narrative of Jesus appearing to the disciples as they are locked in a house for fear of the Jews. It needs to be noted that the writer of the Gospel of John is making reference to the Jews as they condemned Jesus. It is important to know that “the Jews” was a title for a particular religious sect of leaders at that time and it is not to be compared to the people of Jewish faith of our time. The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, which provides the principle that all people deserve equal rights and opportunities, translates “the Jews” to the “Temple authorities.”  

The fear was palpable for the disciples.  They had just witnessed a violent scene: the execution of their leader and friend. They were hiding behind a barrier and separated themselves from reality. They were afraid and deep in grief.

 Some days, it is easier to lock the doors of our homes and avoid the situations, circumstances, and people in our lives. There are days when we want to run away, hide out, and not deal with reality. So, we close doors. And it has me wondering, what are the closed off areas of our lives?

Gordon Lathrop, a seminary professor and Lutheran pastor once said, “You don’t have to knock very hard on any door in your congregation to find some sort of agony behind that door.” I would even extend that beyond a congregation to include a community. And it’s true. In my nine months living in Monroe, I have witnessed some of the community’s agony — some of it fresh, and some of it lingering over the years and coming to the surface in conversation. Agony that is filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt, anger, loss, and deep grief. The locked places of our lives are usually more about what is going on inside — inside our hearts and minds.  

One of the things I appreciate about the resurrection is knowing that Jesus is always entering the boarded up and locked places of our lives. And standing among us he offers us peace. “Peace be with you,” he says. Not only does he offer peace, but he breathes new life into us, around us, and through us.  

When you are behind one of your locked doors of life, I hope you feel that brush of air blowing over you and feel God’s presence. I hope the doubt, fear, uncertainties, and agonies of your life are lessened. I hope you are able to proclaim with confidence like Thomas when he says, “My Lord and my God” when he recognizes Jesus and no longer doubts.  

And when you are behind that locked door and feel that brush of air blowing over you, I hope your shoulders drop and the tension in your forehead releases. I hope your jaw becomes unclenched and you recognize Jesus in your midst giving you peace. 

Peace be with you!

— Reflections appears regularly on the religion page. The column features a variety of local writers, coordinated through the Monroe Area Clergy Group. Rev. Christina Schoenwetter is the Associate Pastor of Engagement at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Monroe.