Today’s Author: Carol Swanson
This last Sunday was Commitment Sunday, when we celebrated our partnerships in ministry and our commitment to fund our mission statement: We are claimed, gathered, and sent to build the church and love the world.
I loved Pastor Peter’s children’s sermon. Let me quote (from YouTube) how he started out, focusing us on the globe. “The planet, our home, what God created for all of us. …This is what God had in mind when God created the world. He had in mind this beautiful thing that is comprised of all the stuff that we see around and all of the people. And more importantly God had a vision for all of the people that God created, that we would have this wonderful life and have it abundantly, and that we would experience that through God’s love that comes to us from creation and from one another. So God loves us so much. And God’s vision is that everybody on this planet would feel that and would know that and experience that personally.”
“This beautiful thing.” I have been thinking a lot about “beauty” lately. I think of the beauty of music, the beauty of our lovely autumn now ending. Mathematicians talk of the elegance, or beauty, of math. I think of the Navajo I worked with who pray to “Walk in beauty.” I’m enriched by the beauty of friendship. There is beauty in hospitality, new beginnings, meeting challenges. The father of process thought, Alfred North Whitehead, wrote, “…[God] is the poet of the world, with tender patience leading it by his vision of truth, beauty, and goodness.” (Process and Reality p 346)
Amos advised, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you…. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate….”
Amos had come on strong against evil. “Thus says the LORD: For three transgressions…and for four, I will not revoke the punishment.” [There are natural consequences!] He preached first against the neighboring lands, and then when everyone was listening, against Israel “because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals—they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth….” And in the text heard on Sunday, God took “no delight” in their festivals and sacrifices.
Worshiping God but ignoring our neighbors breaks God’s heart. God created us for relationships, and it is through relationships that we develop as loving and caring individuals. It is our deep connection with others that we become truly alive, truly human. And it is through these relationships that we grow closer to God. I find myself becoming more aware of the beautiful interconnectedness of us all.
Process philosopher and theologian Jay McDaniel writes on beauty, interconnectedness, and sustainable communities: “What difference does it really make that all things are interconnected? For most process thinkers, it makes all the difference in the world. It means that our task in life is to live in creative harmony with people and other living beings in…local settings, adding our own distinctive kinds of beauty to the larger whole. This beauty can be communal as well as individual; it can be a way in which people live together with one another, in ways that are socially just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually satisfying, with no one left behind…. A just society, then, is simultaneously a beautiful society” (Process Thought, pp 89, 90).
Every time we walk into Prince of Peace we can look up and see the words of Micah: “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” To me, these words describe so simply and beautifully the loving vision of God has for us, as community and personally.
Prince of Peace has many partners in mission and many opportunities to serve. What speaks to your heart? Where else is God calling you to do justice and show kindness? How else do we walk humbly with God?
Sunday’s Prayer for Generosity: Build us up, Lord. Your mission is bold, and your expectations are high. Inspire us to act, equip us with what we need, expand our reach, so that all might come to know the power of your love. Amen.
“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community. If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.“