This is my last devotion for you, Prince of Peace, and I want you to know how much I have enjoyed writing for you since the pandemic began. When we went into “stay at home” mode in March 2020, as a church staff we knew that we needed new ways to stay connected and share comfort and good news during that scary and confusing time. We thought it would be a good short term practice to keep the body of Christ together through devotions, and that turned out to be true in so many ways that now it is a regular part of our life together. As I was the primary writer for much of this time I want to say thank you for reading, for engaging, and for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom with me. Writing is a joy for me, mostly because it spurs conversations and helps us explore this life of faith together.
So. My last thoughts for you.
Desmond Tutu says that preachers only have one sermon, they just say it over and over again with slight variations. (He is a preacher so he gets to say that.) I think he’s onto something. I know that I can count on one hand the core points I hope you hear, so here is what I hope you will remember from me:
Be brave because you are a child of God.
Be kind because everyone else is, too.
This life of faith isn’t for the faint hearted. It can be hard to speak up for the oppressed, forgive those who hurt us, not hoard our stuff, and keep doing the upside down radical work of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit keeps blowing around in our lives calling us to live in ways that feel challenging, thought provoking, and maybe even overwhelming. Keep listening anyway. We are people who believe in a God who brings the dead to life, feeds us with bits of bread, pours water on us as a sign of our belovedness, welcomes the outcasts, and promises that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so BE BRAVE.
And BE KIND. Each one of us is made in the image of God. That person who drives you crazy, the relative you’ve never seen eye to eye with, and those you think can’t possibly be forgiven all belong to God. In fact, God is adding a place at the table for them this very day. God has a habit of using those we never expect to bring forth new life, so keep your heart open and be willing to be surprised (it might even be you!). Be kind, look for new life, trust that God’s grace is for all of us, and practice seeing the divine in your neighbor.
I give thanks for you, Children of God at Prince of Peace. Thanks for letting me walk with you this far.
In Peace and Love, Pastor Ruth
(The Prayer of Good Courage)
you have called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.