YOU AND I: PRESENCES OF PEACE
This week, we have reread stories of angels and looked for the peace we can find in each example. The angels brought tidings of peace. Jesus is our eternal Peace. Now, how do we become Presences of Peace for one another?
Light the Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, Angel and Christ Candles.
Romans 12:9-18 (NRSV)
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
As Presences of Peace, we are to bear the actual presence of peace. Our nature should exude peace. Paul’s words to the Romans give us great examples of how we might be Presences of Peace in our world. We so desperately need to hear and heed Paul’s words today, don’t we? I don’t need to list all the woes of our world to make my point. We see them and are appalled by them each time we watch or read the news.
One of the core principles of the Center for Action and Contemplation is this: “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” Our “practice of the better” would be to follow Paul’s instructions. Love one another… rejoice in hope… persevere in prayer… do not be haughty… live peaceably with all. Our “practice of the better” means that instead of being critical of others, we are to live in contrast to them. Instead of blaming others, we are to show a better way. Instead of competing against others, we are to work together for the good of all.
Instead of remaining full of ourselves, we choose to empty ourselves. We then turn to the One who offers all goodness- all that is hopeful, loving, joyful, and peaceful- and ask to be filled to the brim. This is the peaceful presence we can be for the world.
Prayer: Open us wide, God. Empty us of all that isn’t of YOU. Fill us with all that is! Amen.