Peace, Peace

posted Jan 11, 2019, 8:27 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace, peace, and light to you in this season of Epiphany!

I have really been enjoying our mid-week monthly worship time. We gather on the second Wednesday of the month to take a break from our normal routines and catch our breath. It is a brief service — just thirty minutes — where we read Scripture, or sometimes poetry, offer prayers, sit in silence, and listen to God in music. But what makes this worship so poignant for me are the guided meditations from Deacon Mercedes Barnek and the beautiful rituals we do together. For instance, one week we stood in a circle around the Communion table and served each other the bread and cup; for our Blue Christmas worship, I placed water on each person’s head, asking them to remember what a beloved child of God they are and for God to sustain them through any darkness they may experience; and this week we wrote down what we wanted to let go of from 2018 and burned the pieces of paper, and then wrote on Gratitude cards where we wanted to see God show up in 2019, and floated them in the life-giving waters of the baptismal font. These Wednesdays are small, intimate, and oh, so very holy. I look forward to them each month, for as much as I hope they will be refreshing for our people — a “time out” so to speak — I also am refreshed.

Perhaps why they are so meaningful for me is because we are living in such divisive times. Let’s face it: the world right now is wearying for the soul. Wherever we turn, it seems that people are arguing with friend, neighbor, or family member, taking sides according to their political, religious, or cultural beliefs. And now with the recent partial government shutdown, our leaders are modeling this spirit of division with an even greater gusto. In my opinion, this is not ethical behavior or what true leadership should be. 

Because of the “spirit in the air,” all week long I have been thinking about a certain passage in Ephesians where Paul is addressing the division between the Jewish people and the Gentiles in the church of Ephesus. They are a divided people, living in hostility toward one another, believing their way of living and worshiping God is better than the other. So Paul encourages them in this way, But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2.13-17).

These divisive times may be wearying for the soul, but the peace of Christ is that which breaks down walls of hostility, and unites and refreshes us. 

As your pastor, I am entrusted by God with the care of your body, mind, and spirit. So, I invite you to pause, come to our mid-week monthly worship, lay down your burdens, and take care of your soul. If you can’t attend due to other obligations, I encourage you to take thirty minutes out of the week (more frequently if you can), create a ritual where you can claim the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding, and listen for the whispering of the Holy Spirit in your life. Perhaps as God’s people of faith model a more life-giving form of leadership and keep claiming Peace, peace there will be just that.

In gratitude for the privilege of being your Pastor, and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish