The Things That Make for Peace
Wednesday's humidity aside, the season really is headed towards autumn, which means the Summer of Parables is concluded, for now. The parables always have more twists and turns to visit, so I would encourage you in your own Bible study, readings, and devotionals to delve into different possible interpretations of the parables - the more you can turn the expected message inside-out, the better. Have fun with them! One of the lessons I learned this summer was when the message I was hearing from the parable echoed everything I had already known or been taught, I needed to dig deeper. It was hard work setting aside what I had always known, but I experienced a connection to the parables that I had never felt before. Go forth boldly in faith, and explore.
With the conclusion of the parables series, what is the next worship theme?
In recent years the Presbyterian Mission Agency has published a series of blogs, articles, and Bible studies around the theme A Season of Peace, the last day culminating on World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October. For the time being, I am going to remain off-lectionary and make liberal use of the provided Bible Study, "The Things That Make for Peace." It is a five week study, but I will only use the last four lessons to inspire the upcoming sermon topics (listed in the next section). In anticipation of the truncated study, read Luke 19:37-44and Ephesians 1:18. Consider your feelings about peacemaking, any inner conflicts you may experience with the theme. Read the passage from Luke again, and make note of phrases that resonate with you, sections that challenge you. Reflect on these questions:
How do our peace tactics and values differ from those Jesus taught?
How would the values Jesus taught change our response to political, military, economic, social, and religious conflicts?
What prevents us from "seeing the things that make for peace?"
Finish your contemplations with a prayer of your choosing; here is a Celtic prayer as a possibility:
You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark
You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Savior this very day.
~Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd