Pentecost - Year A
What is recorded in the scriptures has a rhetorical purpose - to persuade you to orient your heart and life in a particular direction. It would be good to have that up front rather than at the tail end of this significant passage regarding the continuance of people’s experience of Jesus past the mystery of an empty tomb.
A key, because it is prominently mentioned twice is the issue of “Peace", “Relax”, “Settle down”, “Chill”, or whatever the latest word is to reduce tension. Tension only heightens battle lines and is not helpful in relationships unless it is used to further investigate the relationship and resolve the particular tension at hand.
Secondary is the issue of “belief”. Here it is evidence based belief that shapes a direction of action. At this remove we have turned the action into a correct answer to a confirmation regimen or assent to membership. Our divorcing of belief from action is one of the hallmarks of a hierarchical institution and/or fundamentalistic literalism.
So, hooray for Peace. Hooray for action based on experience. Use care regarding free-floating belief.