This morning, I pray for peace. Again.
Almost every time I do, I remember these benedicting words from Philippians: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” On the hardest days, I come back to these words as a plea or as grace or as comfort
…or, somedays, a pray these words as an excuse; as though peace is truly beyond understanding, is truly beyond human implementation so
I shrug my shoulders and surrender to not understanding. I surrender to no effort.
Dear God, this morning, help me discern between the kind of peace that is your responsibility and the kind of peace that is my responsibility; the kind of peace that “surpasses all understanding” and the kind of peace that is quite understandable.
This is the peace that calls us to speak or shout or listen with love. This peace feeds those who are hungry and ends hunger. This peace protects and strengthens the vulnerable. This peace, sometimes, steps up and, sometimes, steps back. This peace will “break every yoke” from every shoulder and
remove every knee from every neck. This peace knows that Black lives matter. This peace knows these words are a love song to counter centuries of whispered sneers and proud sin and rationalized torture and institutionalized oppression and… and… and… the subtlety of acceptable superiority.
This peace will sometimes mean a baptism of tear gas or an arrest or even risking plague for some. The way to this peace will sometimes be deeply unsettling and sometimes sad and sometimes rage for some. This peace will sometimes mean a painful reckoning for complacency and excuses and expectation-of-privilege-as-a-birthright for some. This peace will sometimes mean soul-wrenching conversations with those we love and, sometimes, making them mad.
We will sometimes feel broken and we may need to be like the seed that cracks in spring or the wall that falls or the dam that bursts. When it does, help us remember
Your peace that surpasses all understanding.
Help us know your peace. Help us take responsibility for ours.
——–Rev. Mike Denton
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