Today’s post comes from retreat presenter Susan Boruff and she writes about the shocking, hateful actions on the Capitol building last week. Susan shares a beautiful letter that she received, offering a way for us to come together in prayer. Let’s take a moment to pray for our nation as we try to heal and move forward in peace.
Show Me The Way
Becoming “awake” involves seeing our confusion more clearly. ~Rumi
I woke up at 5am last Thursday morning after the horrific events of Wednesday at our nation’s capital. My heart was heavy and I knew I needed to pray for our country. I slowly and mindfully said the Lord’s Prayer. And as always was struck by my favorite line “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (BTW- slowly and mindfully saying the Lord’s prayer is a very powerful practice!)
God has a dream for us – a world of hope. We cannot give up hope that God’s will is being done on “earth as it is in heaven.” How can we participate in bringing the values of the heavenly realm to our needy earthly realm?
Patriotism and love of country and its values are okay, but do not let them become a substitute or an idol for love of God and the values of the gospel. As Christians and spiritual people, we follow a different standard. Jesus mentions this different standard in Matthew 10:34-36 when he said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Wait a minute. I thought Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
The word “sword” is used as a metaphor-which is Jesus’ favorite and timeless way of speaking. To be clear, Jesus is not encouraging violence nor asking his disciples to practice it. Jesus never wielded a sword against anyone and admonished Peter when he did in Matthew 26:52: “Put your sword back in it’s place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
The non-literal interpretation of the word “sword” represents the values of the gospel which separate and distinguish between people of faith in Christ and God from those that are attached to worldly values, principles and practices.
Jesus says that this division can happen even among family members. Basically, he is inviting us to examine our loyalty. He is asking us to look at what separates us from God. Which of your values, principles, loyalties do you put before your loyalty to God Our Father? No one is a substitute for God, The Holy Indwelling.
The sword is also a metaphor for conflict. How do we as people of a higher standard respond to the conflict around us?
Right now, our country and our world need our prayer. I received the following letter Wednesday evening from my prayerful friend and cousin, Susan, who is also the spouse of an episcopal priest. When I read it this morning, I knew that it was meant to be shared.
It is from the Rt. Rev. Bishop Jose A. McLaughlin, the bishop of Western NC, who said the following in response to the violence in our nation’s capital. This is a portion of the letter.
“I write this letter with a heavy heart. And its purpose is not to make a partisan attack, but to simply say, we are a people dependent on one another. We are people who believe in dreams, and the right to express our views, pursue our passions and dreams and contribute to the greater good of our communities and nation.
The dreams I had as a kid are the same dreams I have today. To be a part of something greater than myself. To offer the skills and passions I have to foster love and care of neighbor and to serve in ways which advance the dreams of all.
My brothers and sisters, first and foremost, pray. Pray for our nation, for our leaders, for justice, for mercy and for peace.
Then, act. Find ways to continue to foster communities where people are free to dream; free to express their views and find ways to create safe space to tackle the difficult conversations that need to occur in order to promote mercy, justice and peace. To create beloved community.”
As a true follower and disciple of Christ, it is through our prayers, our thoughts, our words and our deeds that help us respond to the conflict around us, knowing that God will not permit evil to win. Please ask Our Lord and Savior to show you the way!
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV)