Over the past few weeks while working from home, I have heard Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine address Pennsylvanian's concerns about Covid-19, and the global pandemic. I have been impressed with the clarity and direction each has provided. I have been impressed with their delivery of difficult and heavy information. Each time Dr. Levine finishes her presentation, she ends with the phrase, "Stay calm. Stay safe. Stay home."
There's something reassuring in hers and Governor Wolf's demeanor and presentations. There's something about the phrase "stay calm" that is reassuring as well.
Before life began to completely unravel, we learned in church a new way of sharing the peace with one another. This new way came to us by using American Sign Language and the words for peace and be calm. This word began with putting our hands together, palms touching, as though we were praying, turning both a quarter turn in opposite directions (as though you're getting ready to clasp your hands), and then push away. This sign literally means "peace be calm."
After the resurrection, Jesus appeared numerous times to the disciples: at the tomb, behind locked and closed doors, while they were out fishing. Each time Jesus appeared, the disciples responded in fear. Each time the disciples responded in fear, Jesus replied, "Peace be with you." Or, be calm.
There is much in today's world that leaves us anxious, angry, scared, confused, frightened, worried. We are concerned for the health and safety of those we love and care for. We wonder when life will return to normal, and what it will look like.
In our anxiety, anger, confusion, fear, and worry, Jesus meets us. Jesus comes to us, and says, "Peace be with you."
Be calm. Be safe. Be at peace. Christ is with you.