23 May 2015

THE CUSHION OF THE SPIRIT

PENTECOST 
acts 2:1-11; 1 corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or galatians 5:16-25; john 20:19-23 or john 15:26-27, 16:12-15

several years ago a submarine, under test, had to remain submerged overnight. that night a terrible storm hit the coast. when the submarine resurfaced, the harbour master asked the captain: «how did the storm last night affect you?» the captain looked at him in surprise and exclaimed: «storm? we didn’t even know there was one!»
the sub, far beneath the surface, had reached an area sailors call «the cushion of the sea.» though the high winds whipped the ocean into huge waves, they never stirred the waters deep below.

this is a good image of the kind of peace that comes from the SPIRIT that JESUS gives his disciples. the waves of worry, fear and suffering may/will surround his disciples but will not overwhelm them... when they allow the SPIRIT to cushion them.
the disciples had shut themselves behind closed doors after the crucifixion «for fear of the jews». that’s where JESUS finds them on «the first day of the week». that’s where he finds them a week later even after he had given them his peace. but after they were «filled with the HOLY SPIRIT», they experienced a deep peace, and then they moved out of the shut upper room to fearlessly proclaim JESUS crucified and risen from the dead.
notice that the situation outside had not changed. in fact, it had become worse! the disciples faced arrest and persecution, and «were scattered throughout the region of judea and samaria» (acts 8:1) but they continued preaching the word.

we seek the peace that JESUS had, the peace that he gave his disciples, a peace that abides despite pain and suffering, anguish and fear... a peace that is elusive in our world. this is a peace that comes from remaining deep in «the cushion of the SPIRIT». and when we experience that peace, we can move out of ourselves and our shut doors to witness to the gospel.
JESUS gives us the SPIRIT and the peace that he gave his first disciples. will i rest in the cushion of the SPIRIT? and then, filled with his peace—despite the turbulence that surrounds me—how will i proclaim JESUS?