Sixth Sunday of Easter: Week of May 22, 2022
Begin your devotional time by praying this prayer: Creator of all, when we nurture our relationship with you, we find serenity. During hard times, help us remember to give our challenging feelings to you because you are the source of all strength. May the overwhelming power of your love bring us peace. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is TURN. We know that healthy relationships require commitment and consistency, what are some practices you can do every day to strengthen your relationship with God? How can you treat hard experiences as an opportunity to turn towards God?
Adult and Small Child
Reflect: “My peace I give to you.” In today’s reading, Jesus is sharing words of peace with his friends. These friends, the disciples of Jesus, trusted Jesus and they loved Jesus. They also knew that Jesus loved them very much. Even later, after Jesus was gone and no longer with them in person, they continued to feel Jesus’ love. That feeling of Jesus’ love gave them peace and helped them to share Jesus’ message with others who had never met Jesus.
What gives you peace? When do you feel peaceful and calm? Is it when you sit quietly and take deep breaths? Is it when someone hugs you and holds you close? Is it when you visit a favorite place together with someone you love? Feeling that sense of love and connection makes God present in our lives. We experience love and it brings us the sense of peace that Jesus was telling us about in this reading. Then, with that sense of peace in our hearts, we feel ready to turn our lives toward Jesus, to see and to hear how Jesus showed us to live. And, to turn toward others to bring them that same love and connection – and Jesus’ peace. Turning towards each other and bringing each other love and peace is how the Holy Spirit continues to make Jesus present in the world.
Respond: Often when people try to imagine the Holy Spirit that Jesus talked about, they imagine a dove. A dove is also a symbol that we often use to represent peace. So let’s make a dove craft to give away to someone we love and share peace with that person!
You can either trace your hand on a white sheet of paper OR you can use non-toxic white poster paint and paint your whole palm and finger. Then either cut out the white handprint and glue it to a piece of blue construction paper or use your hand to put a paint handprint on the blue paper. Use a small piece of yellow paper to make a triangle to glue to the thumb for the beak and draw an eye with marker or crayon. Have a grown-up write on the paper: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Then share your creation with someone to show them the peace of God through Jesus.
- Katy Seitz Denning
Adult and Elementary
Reflect: When you stop to think things over it has been a rough few years, hasn't it? We are still living in the pandemic, the ways in which we gather with our friends and loved ones has changed. Our schools and churches may be open but it still isn't the same as it used to be. All of these changes can be pretty troubling. There are times over the past few years that I have felt sad and frustrated. What can we do? I think that we can look to today's reading; "do not let your heart be troubled, do not let them be afraid" (John 14:27). We can turn our hearts to Jesus. We can cast our cares upon Jesus because Jesus cares for us (I Peter 5:7). Whenever we start to feel anxious, let us turn again to Jesus.
Respond: Write down a few things that make you feel sad or anxious. Turn your heart to Jesus in prayer by saying, "Lord Jesus, these things have been bothering me. Would you help me with them?"
- Imani Driskell
Adult and Youth
Reflect: Have you ever looked for your cell phone while you were on it? Or misplaced your keys or that one book you need for class today? I do this all the time! God knew that sometimes it was hard to remember things, even everything he taught us. In today’s lesson Jesus gives his disciples a very special gift, the gift of peace. Although he knows their lives will be tough when he is gone, he tells them not to be afraid and that he will still be with them through the Holy Spirit. He promises that the Holy Spirit will help them and help us remember his words and all that he taught us. Now, as the disciples continue their journey, they move forward knowing the Holy Spirit will guide them. And that Jesus' peace and presence will be with them always.
Respond: Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” We all struggle with fear and anxiety sometimes. What are different activities that help you deal with this? For me, it is running or being outdoors with friends. How can you live your life with less fear and anxiety? Have you ever considered practicing yoga or trying meditation? These are both calming activities that might be a great place to start. Find something or somewhere that brings you comfort this week so you can turn your full self towards Jesus and show others he is still with us.
- Lauren Wainwright
Adult and Adults
Reflect: Within this reading from John are several well-known verses that stand alone, yet my personal favorite is “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 ”(John 14:27). I once read a priest’s observation that passing the peace in our services might be better spent looking in someone’s eyes and slowly saying “peace be with you” rather than sharing recipes or golf scores. Imagine that. And a priest friend tried to both shorten the sanctuary distances congregants traveled to pass the peace and to discourage loud exchanges. Imagine how those proposed changes resonated... I decided to take something from both these approaches and have tried to respect this time in the service and to observe these as sacred moments. I share the peace with those closest to me and try to make eye contact with those I haven’t seen in awhile and with those I wish to spend time with after the service. I’m successful sometimes, but as I sit after the peace, I allow myself space to pray for those I didn’t touch and to commit to engaging them later. This is a turn for me.
Respond: Consider what you bring to “the peace” during the next few services you attend. How intentional are you in hearing and feeling “…my peace I give to you”? Spend a few moments prayerfully journaling your actions around the peace and those with whom you’ve interacted.
- Mallard Benton