passing the peace


    Here are few things I brought home from church with me yesterday, thanks to our hymnal,
    Hymns of Truth and Light, in the order I found them.

    In the face of human suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see. In the face of injustice, one may not look the other way. When someone suffers, and it is not you, he [or she] comes first. [Their] suffering gives [them] priority . . . To watch over [one] who grieves is more urgent duty than to think of God.
    — Elie Wiesel

    Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
    Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
    Peace is not the result of violent repression.
    Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution to the good of all.
    Peace is dynamism.
    Peace is generosity.
    It is right and duty.
    — Oscar Romero

    Peace before us,
    peace behind us,
    peace under our feet

    Peace within us,
    peace over us,
    let all around us be peace.

    Love before us,
    love behind us,
    love under our feet.

    Love within us,
    love over us,
    let all around us be love.

    Light before us,
    light behind us,
    light under our feet.

    Light within us,
    light over us,
    let all around us be light.

    Christ before us,
    Christ behind us,
    Christ under our feet.

    Christ within us,
    Christ over us,
    let all around us be Christ.
    — David Hass, based on a Navajo prayer

    I came to church with Gaza on my heart. After worship, I sat in a meeting where we talked about how we were scaling back the church budget because we were fearful there would not be enough pledges.

    “When are we going to live by faith?” Ginger asked.

    Peace — which according to the quotes above encompasses compassion, generosity, courage, dynamism, tenacity, faith, commitment, determination, action, intentionality, and love — is hard work. Harder work, I think, than most folks are willing to do. Perhaps we talk of violence and fear as inevitable parts of life because they are less demanding choices to make. Yes, they are painful choices, but all they require of us are to be angry and scared. To be one who makes “a generous and tranquil contribution to all” is a much tougher assignment.

    May the peace of Christ inflict and inhabit you.
    And also with me.



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