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Praying for Peace

Last week we acknowledged that Christ ascended to heaven and is now with God - physically at least. As the candle that stands in our sanctuary reminds us, Christ is always with us when we gather and when we scatter. In fact, the Gospel of Matthew ends with this comforting affirmation from Jesus “and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Sunday we will celebrate what is known as the church’s birthday - Pentecost. The church and many church goers will be decked out in red for the celebration. The descending of the Holy Spirit is truly a time of chaotic celebration...and chaotic it will be. From the first reading to the last, but peace will be restored as we settle into this new liturgical season.

Red is also the color of martyrs, the color we wear when a martyr is commemorated. Red being the color signifying the blood of the martyrs. And with the goings on in the Holy Land these past few days - the death of an 8 month old baby - 60 and rising since Monday - it does not escape me that this is happening on the land once walked upon by many of the martyrs of the church. The land once walked upon by Jesus himself. The land that the Holy Spirit descended upon that first Pentecost.

The land where the Abrahamic faiths converge - Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

The land where we should be taught non-violence and peace by example and holy living.

On Tuesday evening we held a prayer and conversation gathering in the chapel at St. Stephen's. It was attended by a fair number for last minute notice and one thing seemed to be echoed by many...a sense of helplessness in the face of the violence.

I have no comfort to offer in regard to that helplessness because I too feel it. I too pray in hopes of understanding what I can do to bring peace and security to those living in fear on both sides of the fence.

I look back to the words of Teresa of Avila - reminding us that we are the conduits in which Christ remains on this earth. Reminding us that we have the power to be the voice of peace and reason.

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Prayers for compassion and peace to all in this land and all lands across our world. May we see God and Christ in “the other” and in each other.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Jason

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