This article appears in “The Bridge, ” October, 2020.
“Peace of Christ be with you”! Each Sunday we share these words with one another in our passing of the peace. It is our way of greeting one another during morning worship. Just a few little words and actions can mean so much!
Over the past several months passing the peace has taken on a new importance. During our online worship events, passing the peace is an opportunity to connect with others while socially distancing. It is nice to see friends and loved ones and hear messages of goodwill and hope. People are craving to be seen and heard and this simple act fills a void. I have been told that the best part of our in-person 4th Sunday outdoor services is the fellowship time with friends.
Right now, we need peace more than ever. Peace is defined in the Bible as “the notion of totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well being.”As Christians we know that peace is more than a feeling. It is an active way of showing love to one another. In Isaiah 32:17 it states, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” With the added anxiety and fear from the current pandemic we hunger for the love and support from each other. Our new normal is creating economic and social divisions that only our acts of peace can heal. Our political climate is also causing some unhealthy division. With one month until our presidential election, we need all the peace we can get.
Fortunately, we are in the midst of the “Season of Peace”. On October 4th we will celebrate World Communion Sunday online and take part in the Peace and Global Witness Offering. We have also designed individual “Season of Peace” events which will start during the month of October. We plan to designate one of the trees on our church property as a “peace tree” and invite members to make peace notes and paper cranes to decorate it. We hope to have a Tuesday night fellowship where we can make our notes and cranes together and talk about active peace initiatives, we can take part in locally. We will send out “peace note” templates in the next week for you to use and will hang our notes and cranes on October 26 during our in-person worship. We also plan to start a discussion of the book “Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mr. Rogers” as part of our Tuesday Night Fellowship.
We know that active peace is important in our personal lives and we invite you to use our new church Prayer Trail. Walking through the different stations is a relaxing way to reconnect to God and it is nice to enjoy our church yard. Most important, it helps both our bodies and spirits renew.
Friends, until we meet again. Shalom! Peace be with you.
Rev. Julie A. Sterling