Thursday, October 2, 2014

27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
     We’ve been working our way through a 5 week long Season of Peace, being more intentional about looking at the need for peace in different areas of our lives as well as different ways to understand peace in a variety of circumstances outside our lives.
     This included the story of Jesus storming into the Temple and overturning the money changers tables. The money changers were running a scam that required people to buy sacrifices for Temple worship and it ripped them off in the process; the victims knew it but there wasn’t anything they could do about it. It was done with cooperation of the Temple leaders, and these leaders thought they held the monopoly on being holy. However the popularity of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ would suggest the masses did not agree .
     A Pew Research survey released last week reflects a similar sentiment, it says “nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life." That’s grown by about 5% over the past four years...”And most people who say religion's influence is waning see this as a bad thing."

     Certainly this is interesting by itself, but what really got my attention though came in the survey results that show “that most Americans do not agree that religion has a positive impact on society.” Much like during the time of Jesus, people are not at peace with holiness as they know it; the holiness they see does not reflect the goodness of God they desire.

     We’ve got work to do.

     As we step forward into this work, and as odd as it sounds, perhaps it’s best if our prayers seek the foolishness that St. Francis of Assisi sought rather than holiness:
“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.                                                                   May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”
     Come be part of the foolishness. We meet at 10AM on Sundays.

Together We Serve,                                                                                                         Pastor Mike