Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Epiphany 4
February 1, 2015
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27, NRSV)
Pray for peace. We say that a lot. Today that takes on a unique and specific significance. Super Bowl Sunday is the day that many domestic violence prevention groups are now using to promote awareness about domestic abuse. This year, one of the Super Bowl ads, sponsored by NoMore.org and the NFL (and paid for entirely by the NFL), offers a particularly powerful presentation, intended to get the reality of domestic violence on our radar screens. NOTE: in my morning sermon I inadvertently perpetuated an urban myth that there are a greater number of domestic violence calls on Super Bowl Sunday, than on any other day of the year. Although a wealth of chatter, pro and con, can be found on a number of blogs and web sites on this subject, it appears that Super Bowl Sunday is no more risky a day than a few other holidays throughout the year. I should have checked more carefully. Mea culpa. But, the reality of violence at home remains. So … pray for peace … in our homes … in our communities … in our schools … in our churches … in any place that you spend time. In short, this week at least, pray for peace and try to enact it at the local level of life – a level where you can have direct impact on those you respect and who respect you. We regularly pray for peace in the world, right? And we should. But sometimes the challenge of peace at the world-wide scale seems overwhelming. So start on a much smaller level. Help create peace in the far more manageable worlds you populate.
So, in your devotional life this week, consider asking God to make you a vessel for peace in the circle of people in your life. And as you pray, remember the biblical meaning of peace, or shalom. It never solely means “an absence of fighting.” It has a far broader meaning, conveying completeness and prosperity. Think of the Garden of Eden … peace points to life as God intends it to be … a state of life in which God’s children and God’s creation live together in harmony. You may not be able to stop the fighting in the Middle East. But you may be able to stop the fight that threatens to break out on your property line … or at the PTO meeting … or at the church meeting that gets a little heated. And once you have stopped the fighting, don’t stop …
but consider how you might model the kind of completeness that God intends for us all. Yes, pray for peace … in every way imaginable, and in every venue available to you.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is discord, harmony; Where there is error, truth; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
~~ The Prayer of St. Francis (of Assisi)