I’m fascinated by those who are skilled at fine crafts. I recently heard of a man who lives alone up in the hills of Virginia, off-the-grid, and barefoot most of the time, who is an artisan who handcrafts top-quality, hammered dulcimers. Not long ago, in a shop, I saw an astonishingly, wafer-thin, wooden bowl carved from the burl of a tree. Several months ago, in Florida, Sue and I saw beautiful sculptures, from tabletop size to ten feet tall, each from a single block of stone, done by tribal artisans in Zimbabwe. It seems to me that each of these gifted people attend to their art with a rarely encountered level of peace. The hours of concentrated effort necessary to create each piece of artwork must not be forced or stressful but entered into out of a sense of sheer pleasure at producing something exquisite. Because we also enjoy pottery, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with several potters at their shops during our travels. Without exception, they’ve been measured, soft-spoken, gentle folk exuding a peace which is appealing. On a sales-approach spectrum, there are those who loudly hawk their wares, then there are these artisans, quietly standing intrusively by while one wanders among their treasures. They seem almost disinterested in the commercial aspect and desire mostly that their customers love each piece they buy as much as they’ve enjoyed making them. I think the peace oozing from these special people comes from an intimate knowing, a centered awareness, a settledness, a ‘happy-to-be-me’ worldview. 

When Jesus addressed folks with: ‘Peace to you,’ it was a command to his peace to be ‘peaced’ to his listener/s, for his limitless peace to be actively transmitted out of him and into those with him. Scripture doesn’t elaborate on the reactions of those on the receiving end of such an indescribable gift so I’m left to my imagination as to what it would have been like. I picture it like a quiet Pentecost – nothing visible, but most definitely a power encounter. Did people fall out under that power surge or did Jesus’ presence hold them up? Did they feel heat or chill or smell perfume? Did they laugh or weep or do a happy dance? Did they hyperventilate? I can imagine all of the disciples, upon seeing Jesus simply appear in the room where they were hiding, and hearing him say, ‘Peace to you.’ begin dancing and laughing and weeping and running crazily around the room, knocking over tables, bumping into one another, like over-excited little children on Christmas morning. (I think that qualifies as an interpretation of ‘overjoyed,’ don’t you?) And, because the peace is Jesus, it instills an intimate knowing, a centered awareness, a settledness, a happy-to-be-me-in-Jesus worldview. It never fades. We just keep oozing because he is uncontainable. What more can I say? Ooze on, y’all!  PD

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