John 14:23-29

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Reflection – Dixie Ford

“If you had to use just one word to describe the state of your own soul today, what would that word be?”[1]  This was the question Emily P. Freeman asked on her podcast as I drove to work after dropping the kids off at school. As soft music played in the background, and Emily gave a moment of silence to ponder the question, I sought to find a word to describe the state of my soul at that moment. It took me a minute, but I finally, and reluctantly, admitted the state of my soul in that moment: afraid.

This revelation caught me off guard. I’m not afraid! I am strong, I am on top of things, I am capable, I am tough…right?

The truth is, underneath the pretense of holding all things together and working hard to be brave, our souls sometimes feel afraid. There are just too many unknowns in life, and unknowns are frightening.

Jesus reminds us in today’s Scripture that he has a gift for souls that are afraid: peace. And not just any peace—his peace. Looking into the eyes of his disciples who were headed into terrifying days, Jesus spoke these words, “My peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Today, may all whose souls are afraid hear Jesus’ words of peace. May we believe his promise that he doesn’t give as the world gives. Jesus gives peace that lasts—peace that passes all understanding, peace that holds our shaking hand and walks us through the murkiness of the future, peace that calms our hearts and silences our fears, peace that gives rest to our weary souls.

[1] Emily P. Freeman, “Acknowledge Your Soul,” December 18, 2018, in The Next Right Thing, podcast, 10:43,