Yoga Theology: Peace-Full

For this morning’s yoga class, I had a plan.

The Scripture for meditation would be from Psalm 116, a reading for Maundy Thursday. Everyone would use two blocks for some standing hamstring stretches. I would pass out straps to help with upper-back tightness. We would use the "Worship" playlist.

Not all of my classes have this much organization ahead of time, but today was one that did. Until I heard someone say, “Oh no.”

In the long, sunlit hallway where we meet, a window lay in shattered pieces. The spring’s first mosquitoes danced in, bringing with them a thick humidity. Someone asked if I knew where a broom was (embarrassingly, I did not, but now I do!). I half-answered and began looking around the building to see if anything else were amiss.

Thankfully, the broken window was the only damage we found. A dead bird lying nearby suggested that he was the one who “broke in.” The idealistic pastor in me would like to believe that the bird was overeager to arrive for Holy Week services. The realistic pastor in me admits that the bird was simply speeding to a destination.

As people arrived to assess and begin repairs, we forged ahead with yoga. By the time we settled onto our mats, I couldn’t remember any of my original plan. Only a few people had blocks, and no one had straps. All the playlists looked alike. The room was much warmer and stickier than usual. People swatted at mosquitoes, slapping mats and clapping hands around the little pests.

I chuckled, took a deep breath, and called the class to “order.”

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.*

How appropriate these words seem for a yoga room with soft lighting and instrumental music and comfortable temperatures and lavender oils and no voices.

When Jesus spoke “peace” to his disciples, the room was far from a yoga-like sanctuary.

His hands were smudged with dirt from his friends’ feet.

Judas had bolted from the table.

Peter fired one question after another at Jesus about what he was doing and where he was going.

Jesus silenced him with a dire prophecy of roosters crowing.

What better time is there to speak of peace than in brokenness?

Where do we find calm when the room is full of smells and sounds and noises that disrupt and disorder us?

We have to look within.

We have to look to Him.

Holy Thursday and Jesus’ teachings from that Passover meal remind us that the world is awry. Windows shatter, plans change, and mosquitoes swarm. Friends deny us, traitors deceive us, and feet stink.

This disordered world is the one to which he spoke, “peace.”

It’s the world where he still whispers, “peace.”

The only way the yoga students could experience “peace” in this morning’s class was to turn their attention away from the distractions and toward their breath. Today, when the noise increases and the plans change, will you pause to breathe?

 Will you turn your attention away from the world –and toward Him? 

Will you listen and listen and listen until the world becomes background noise, and all you can hear are these words…?

Peace I leave with you. Peace I give you….

all good things (including repaired windows) to each of you,

Pastor Darian

* John 14:27