June 7, 2020
Mark 4:39: Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. – Francis of Assisi
A tremendous storm arose while the disciples with Jesus were crossing a sea in a boat. Waves slammed into the boat and over it. The horrific storm filled the disciples with fear and dismay.
Likewise, the storms of life are raging in our lives and in our country. The murder of George Floyd and the open wound of systemic racism is forcing us to deal with our past. The mass peaceful protests give us hope while the looting and vandalism dishearten us. Will the bleeding stop, and can we listen, heal, forgive, and restore one another and our institutions? Teenage suicide rips us apart. The sad loss of another young life. The pandemic continues to sweep across our communities while the storms of life continue to rage.
We cry with the disciples, “Jesus, don’t you care? Everything is falling apart! Do something!”
When I imagine Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm, He wakes up, holds up His hands, and says, “Peace be still.”
Breathe again. “Peace, Be still.” Breathe.
The storm ceased and there was a dead calm.
Jesus was a peacemaker and we are called to be peacemakers as well. As Francis of Assisi said, “Lord, make us instruments of your peace.” Help us to forgive, mend, and restore severed relationships within our family structures and our communities. Help us to heal the divide between races, religions, and political parties. Give us the strength to speak clearly and humbly and to act truthfully and nonviolently.
Our world and our leaders often scream, “An eye for an eye!” The storms of life are raging as violence, anger, and division are all around us. Sister Joan Chittister asks, “Where are you and I amid it? There is nothing godly in murder and mayhem, in doing damage to people and property, in bringing chaos and anarchy while we say we seek peace and justice.” There is nothing godly in using the Bible as a weapon to justify violence. Jesus, the peacemaker, tells Peter and us today, “Put away your swords,” (Matthew 26:52). The peacemaker says, “Put away your weapons, lay aside your vitriolic language, and your self-righteousness.”
“Peace be still.” There is another way. “Love your neighbors and your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Forgive one another. Listen, learn, heal, and restore.”
Peacemakers are not agitators, anarchists, or traitors say Sister Joan Chittister. Rather peacemakers “call us to the best of what we are.” They are loud and quiet, and they are nonviolent and compassionate.
During the American civil rights movement, “American blacks and their white supporters walked in a mass movement across the United States, being beaten and broken and murdered as they went but not bruising back,” writes Chittister.
Authentic peacemakers in the way of Christ do not bruise back. Think about that.
What message do people get from us? Are we willing to forgive? Are we willing to love our neighbors and our enemies? Are we willing to meet hate with love? Are we willing to stand with the demonized until the demonization stops? Are we willing to help calm the storm?
May the peace of God dwell within our hearts and may we lift our hands in peace. May we be agents of God’s peace.
Peace and Blessings,
-This Tuesday at 12 noon at Boyle Park in Mancos, we will have a prayer vigil to remember George Floyd. We will pray/meditate silently for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. You will be invited to kneel or lie prone with hands behind your back during this time. You may sit as well if needed.
-Please wear masks and practice social distancing (6 to 10 feet apart) during the vigil. Thank you.