Sharing the Peace

By Steven L. Shields of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA

You who are my disciples must be found continuing in the forefront of those organizations and movements which are recognizing the worth of persons and are committed to bringing the ministry of my Son to bear on their lives.  Doctrine and Covenants 151:9

My congregation did the good deeds expected from a group of disciples. We found a nearby pantry program and began collecting canned goods for a monthly donation. The pantry appreciated our efforts, and we provided many meals for families in need.

But we were not involved in the lives of the people being served. The pantry was several miles away in another part of the city. We simply would drop our donations and return home.

We had a strong sense of mission that our call was to serve people in the part of town where we gathered in sacred community. The congregation believed the church should be a center of ministry. However, our numbers were few. We simply could not staff a community-based program on our own.

But we knew people in our neighborhood needed help because, as pastor, I often would get telephone calls. I shared my concerns with other pastors at the monthly ministerial association meeting. I found they felt the same; their congregations sensed what mine sensed.

Several of us shared our concerns and hopes with our congregations and other community organizations. One church offered a spare classroom to house a small office, a pantry, and clothing distribution. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops conducted food drives, supermarkets gave shopping bags. Service clubs and businesses donated money, services, and food.

Together we combined several small forces into one larger force. Together we served the needs of our neighbors. Together we shared the peace of Jesus Christ.

Prayer for Peace:

God of this deep and wide planet, whether we serve faraway or near our homes, we know your Spirit will be with us. Make me a servant…make me a servant today.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Connecting with God as Center

Each day this week connect with God through journal writing. Use a notebook, journal, computer, or any available paper. Prayerfully center on your intent to open yourself to God’s presence and share what flows from your heart and mind. Your “letter to God” might include thoughts, questions, feelings, needs, artwork, quotes, and scriptures, or it may take the form of a prayer, psalm, or poem.

Try to write at least five minutes each day. What do you experience? Is this an effective way for you to connect with God? What surprises you? What new images or questions from God emerge? What deepens or changes in your relationship with God, Christ, Spirit?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will work with the community to be your willing servant.

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