Tag Archives: reconciliation

nonviolence is a lifestyle

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Jesus said that if we hate a person we have already committed murder in our hearts. There are far too many of us who need to ask for forgiveness for carrying murder in our hearts.

As Christians we are asked to love without limits, and to be bearers of grace and reconciliation in every situation. We need nonviolent spirits. We need the peace of Christ in our hearts.

take a stand & live alive

These moving words by Dr. King are timely as we approach a time of massive transition and change in our country. We are called to love one another and to seek justice for all. We cannot allow fear of any measure to keep us from speaking the truth and acting on behalf of those who need our help.

As people of faith we need to be a beacon of hope to all those around us that are being told and being shown that many in our society do not value them, and even hate them. We are also called to love those so fearful that they allow their anger and hatred to lead them to verbal abuse and violence against others.

Jesus calls us to be agents of reconciliation. That means we must care enough to get in the middle and show a more excellent way. We must have the courage to act. We have to demonstrate that peace is possible. The answer isn’t fear, but love.

a Christian response to terrorism

The Dalai Lama, long an advocate of peace and reconciliation among various faith traditions, recently declared that once a person or a group decides to indulge in violence they are no longer being true to their supposed beliefs. He pointed out that the Koran even states that once one commits bloodshed that person can no longer be called a follower of Allah.

Christians need to take a lesson from the Dalai Lama. In a time when so many are promoting divisiveness, here is one spiritual leader who continues to seek reconciliation. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we are called to be “ambassadors of peace and agents of reconciliation.”

There is no room in Christianity for hate speech, xenophobia, and divisive rhetoric. Faithfulness to Christ means we love and accept each other even as we have been loved and accepted. Violence, even in response to violence, is not part of the Gospel.

Faithfulness to Christ demands more. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is love. The faithful Christian response to terrorism is forgiveness. Anything less, as the Dalai Lama would say, is to be untrue to what we proclaim we believe.

good advice from the 18th century

I get an almost constant stream of comments from many in my congregation that they would prefer  that my sermons were less political. My response is that if a sermon isn’t political it’s not relating to what’s real and immediate for us.

If our spirituality doesn’t help inform who we are as citizens we have created a false dichotomy. Our values should come from our beliefs. Those values should be what guide us in the choosing of  who we desire to serve us as elected officials.

John  Wesley stated it plainly. We need to exercise our freedom to vote. It’s a gift many do not enjoy. We need to vote for the person who most closely reflects our values. And then, we need to demonstrate the love of Christ and not engage in trash talking the opposition candidates or their supporters.

Personally, I have the most difficulty with that last piece of advice. As a disciple of Jesus I am called to be an ambassador of love and an agent of reconciliation. That makes trash talk off limits, and I admit I’m not there yet. It’s an area in which I am still working…

a prayer for peacemakers

I praise you this morning, God. You alone are worthy of worship and praise, and so I pause to again give you glory and honor for your love, your mercy and your unending grace.

Thank you for your unconditional love and acceptance. Thank you for the grace of Jesus the Christ and for the explosive power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for creating such a perfect world.

This morning I lift up all the victims of senseless violence. Be with the families of those recently killed in Paris, but be with those grieving families in other areas of the world, as well. families in Syria, in Yemen, in Uganda, in South Sudan, in Iraq , Afghanistan, and even here in the United States. Let every member of every family touched by violence feel your love and experience your peace that passes all understanding.

And Lord I would pray that you grant all your children that perfect love that casts out fear. Help us live as your children should live, unafraid of whatever life brings. We now live in an age of growing violence and terrorism. Grant us all the strength and blessing of faith and faithfulness that we might be beacons of hope and light in a world darkened by fear and hatred.

Allow each of us to live alive, fully sharing the love you have first given us. Help us to be agents of reconciliation in every relationship you have granted us. Empower us to speak love and peace in the face of fear, bigotry and hatred.  Grant us the strength to be peacemakers in a world gone mad. And in the end, grant us the blessing of your eternal presence. Amen

 

a prayer for those in need of food

Most merciful God of all creation, I come to Your throne of grace this morning with praise and thanks for all the rich blessings you have bestowed so freely upon all your children. I worship You and offer unending thanksgiving for Your love, Your justice and Your sustaining mercy.

I ask for special mercy this day for those crushed by poverty and those oppressed by forces beyond their control. I pray that those in the shadow of starvation may see the light of your presence in the form of life-sustaining food and that the hungry everywhere might be fed until they are filled.

Open our hearts, Lord, that we may see through Your eyes. Help us to love our brothers and sisters even as You love us. And let Your love, Your mercy and Your grace flow through us as we strive to meet the need of the least of these among us. In a world so richly blessed there are none that should lack daily bread. My prayer is that You would empower us to do whatever needs to be done to see that Your gifts are shared with all our family.

Allow me Lord to be a true ambassador of reconciliation. Grant me the strength to be a real peacemaker. And may my life be a clear reflection of Your love  and compassion in every situation.   Amen

a prayer for faithfulness

Most gracious and loving God, I come to you this morning to give you praise and offer you my heartfelt thanks. I worship you and open myself to you again.

Grant me your wisdom today. Allow me to see those around me through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with both grace and compassion. Help me be a voice of peace and reconciliation amid the cacophony of mistrust, hatred and fear.

And most gracious Creator, guide me throughout this day and this week that I may always be in the center of your perfect will for my life. Help my heart to stay attuned to the still small voice of your Spirit, and give me the courage to not only listen but to obey.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit grant me the power to be a good and faithful follower throughout this week. Let me prove my discipleship by my every word and action. Help me to be faithful in all things, both great and small.

I give you all praise, worship and honor. Glory be to your Name, both now and forever. Amen