The Man in the Hoodie

8-2Friday, August 2

By Cindy L. Korf of North Platte, Nebraska, USA

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

—Psalm 139:1–5

I was struggling with personal issues and wondered where God was. After a night of worry, I woke early and decided to go for a walk on my favorite trail beside the river. I knew the walk among the trees, birds, and rising sun would give me a quiet sanctuary to pray and find God.

As I turned onto the trail, a man in hooded sweatshirt turned onto the trail ahead of me, carrying a container. He started walking down “my” trail. I was irritated—I wanted the trail for myself. I needed to be alone on the trail to enjoy the beauty and morning solitude.

Yet, this man was walking in front of me. I thought if I walked slowly, he would get far enough ahead of me that I could have the trail to myself. But much to my surprise, the man walked at my same pace, and every so often stopped to pick up trash to put into his container. All along the trail the man stayed a few feet ahead of me and picked up litter. He left the path clean and beautiful for me to walk.

It dawned on me, Jesus goes before us, preparing the way for us. Yet, in our self-absorption we fail to realize or have the faith that he is there and has already gone before us.

Prayer for Peace
God before us, God behind us, God who walks quietly beside us—may our awareness of you dawn on us as we walk our path of life. May we realize when our life is clean and beautiful it is because we are open to your gentle hand on us. Walk with us as we share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will see Christ in people different from myself.

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