In the lobby of the Ramsey County Courthouse and St. Paul’s City Hall sits a statue that rises 38 feet into the air.  The statue, featuring a rising divine spirit, was sculpted in the 1930s out of creamy white Mexican onyx created by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.  Milles drew upon his experience with Native American spirituality in its design and the statue is now called “Vision of Peace.”  At the base are inscribed 1578 names of Minnesota soldiers that have been lost to war.

In this Sunday’s reading, Paul is in Athens and taking in the sites it seems.  As it still is today, the city was filled with statues of all kinds and Paul takes particular note of one that is dedicated to “an unknown god.”  Later, while preaching to the curious Athenians, Paul referencing this statue, connecting his understanding of the true living God found in Jesus, to the cultural understandings of the Greeks.  He even quotes their own philosophers and poets rather than the scriptures to make his point.

Not having an occasion to visit the St. Paul Courthouse (knock on wood!), I have not seen its impressive statue in person, and I knew nothing about it until it was referenced during our Men’s text study this past Tuesday.  Our group named it as deeply memorable and the message it carries.  Along with the Native Americans gathered at the statue’s base, and in a world filled with too much conflict, we pray for peace. 

“Vision of Peace” was unveiled in celebration of Memorial Day in 1938.  Another Memorial Day is approaching, and we will again take time this extended weekend to remember all those who have sacrificed their own lives for the peace which is so dear and yet remains so elusive.  In our remembering, let’s call upon the God, made known to us in and through Jesus, that peace may come.

Indeed, may God’s peace come to you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Peace, ELW, © 2022 Augsburg Fortress