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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Peace, Prayer and Presence 11-29-14

The Thanksgiving holiday has allowed for some deep and lovely rest, but it has also provided the opportunity to catch up on world news. In the midst of heated debates over race and justice, seemingly constant news of gun violence, and horrifying reports from abroad describing civil unrest, kidnappings, menacing threats and religious strife, I seek to find peace and perspective from God and His people.

As I write this, I have just heard the report of Pope Francis standing in silent prayer today in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, aiming to show respect for Islam and clearly reaching out to build shalom wherever he goes. These words below are from past and present Christian leaders and were each poignant to me this week regarding our own call to be peacemakers and bridgebuilders like the pope. May we be people who listen, pray, love, learn, speak up, and sometimes remain silent as we "depend on him from hour to hour."

If [God] wants you to do something, he'll make it possible
for you to do it, but the grace he provides comes only with the
task and cannot be stockpiled beforehand. We are dependent on
him from hour to hour, and the greater our awareness of this
fact, the less likely we are to faint or fail in a crisis.
    Louis Cassels (1922-1974)

The grammar commonly used to refer to or ask about the
church still carries heavy baggage of being a "place where
certain things happen." We ask, for instance, "Where do you go
to church?" "Where is your church?" "Did you go to church last
Sunday?" Indeed, even when not referring to a tangible
building, we tend to relate "church" to a meeting or activity,
a set of programs, or an organizational structure. Only with
awkwardness would one talk about being "part of a church."
    In North America, this "place where" orientation manifests
itself in a particular form. Both members and those outside the
church expect the church to be a vendor of religious services
and goods.
    Darrell L. Guder, Missional Church

Powerful response from Christena Cleveland on the
Ferguson grand jury decision

What does non-violence look like for us? It is certainly not the passivity of the victim. It entails resisting rather than colluding with abusive power. It does mean, however, accepting suffering rather than passing it on. It refuses to shame, blame, threaten or demonize. In fact, non-violence requires that we befriend our own darkness and brokenness rather than projecting it onto another. This, in turn, connects us with our fundamental oneness with each other, even in conflict.
Pat Farrell OSF

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo

When faith came to be in writings rather than in hearts, contention grew hot and love grew cold. That which is forced cannot be sincere, and that which is not voluntary cannot please Christ.
Erasmus of Rotterdam, sixteenth-century priest and church reformer

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