It Is Enough

Wednesday, October 1

10-1By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, Michigan, USA

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

—Isaiah 32:17–18 NRSV

A steady monotone chorus of cicadas filled the air and disturbed the idyllic peace at the campground. They drowned out the intermittent croak of frogs basking on lily pads in the pond. They rudely interrupted the light banter of chirping crickets. The noise disrupted the expected solitude as I sought quiet communion with God.

Yet, as my thoughts began to center, the chaotic hum receded into the background. The still, small voice of God, the peace of the Holy Spirit, and the companionship of Jesus became real and present. They flooded my soul with peace.

How like life! Our hectic schedules and a cacophony of voices demand attention. They threaten to engulf our full selves and become the focus of our attention. At these times it is difficult to center oneself and build deep connections with God and others. Yet, as we hone in on that holy Presence through scripture, song, prayer, silence…all else becomes background noise. God fills the spaces, bringing comfort, renewal, and peace.

The cicadas still sing. The world around us continues swirling in chaotic dissonance, but just for a moment, God breaks through, restoring peace and harmony.

It is enough.

Prayer for Peace Listening God, we know you hear us, though sometimes it is hard for us to hear you. Help us go deeper into silence, where we can find you. Rest our keen ears that we might not hear the noise nearby—that we may hear your voice within. Your peace is enough for us.

Spiritual Practice: Voices of God What is the voice of God saying to us? Do we hear the whispers of God’s longing for shalom; God’s dream of beauty and wholeness for all creation? Do we hear the “voice” of God calling to us in faces and eyes, in the sounds of suffering and joy, in scripture and sacred word, in tears and laughter, in silence and noise? Spend a few moments reflecting on when and how God’s voice speaks to you. When did you first feel called to join God in the pursuit of peace and justice? How does that call to shalom continue to come to you through the many “voices” of God?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen deeply.

Advertisements

Be of One Mind and Heart

Sunday, September 28

Ron Harmon

Ron Harmon

By Ron Harmon, Council of Twelve Apostles

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…

—Philippians 2:1–5 NRSV

Recently, during leaders meetings in Independence, Missouri, a woman approached me after a question-and-answer session. She was concerned that she had not made herself understood as she shared her comments with a large group of leaders from the USA. I could sense her frustration, so I asked her to elaborate.

She shared about some challenges in her mission center and then shared her specific concern. As I listened carefully, I not only heard, but felt, the depth of her concerns. As I responded, her eyes began to well up. She nodded and affirmed that I understood her concern. I assured her I would share this with my colleagues.

Something powerful happens when we create the time and internal space to listen intently to one another. We find ourselves in the sacred space of another’s deepest concerns, hopes, and ideals. The space that separates us fades in significance as we connect at a level beneath intellect and abstract ideas. We connect as human beings. And, although we may not agree, we sense the great importance of our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Perhaps this is what the author of Philippians meant when he wrote, “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

Prayer for Peace Listening God, we have faith that you hear and feel our deepest concerns. Weep with us, God, so we may have joy in the morning light. Help us know this joy comes from you.

Spiritual Practice: God’s Healing Light Today’s intercessory prayer comes from the Quaker tradition. Become still and turn your attention to God. Prayerfully identify a person in need of healing, blessing, or guidance. Close your eyes and imagine God’s presence surrounding the person. See or sense the person being held in God’s light. Continue holding the person in the light and release the person into whatever blessing God knows is needed. Words are not necessary. Trust the Spirit to see and penetrate more deeply than human awareness. Thank God and close with “Amen.”

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen deeply and with compassion to another’s need.

Justice for the Hungry

Tuesday, July 8

7-8By Michael S. Clarke of Clay Cross, Derbyshire, England

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

In Matthew 14, we read about Jesus feeding the 5,000 on a mountainside. We can imagine there were people on that mountainside going through bad times—impoverished, sick, struggling with everyday life. It is the same for us today. Britain has high unemployment, and people find it hard to buy food.

In Clay Cross, our church started a food bank. This ministry recognizes the Worth of All Persons and seeks to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering. It is a great way to help the community, and it brings churches of different denominations together. We collect food from supermarkets and families. We store it in a warehouse we call “The Hub.”

Our food bank is open two times a week: one night at the local Church of England, and on Friday afternoon at Community of Christ. When people come to the food bank, we talk to them, listen to their stories, and if they would like, we pray with them.

In the low times in our lives, we may keep concerns bottled up. I learned it is better to talk to someone and share. So, as part of our ministry, we listen. When the food is ready, it is gratifying to see how our personal attention gives our clients a sense of worth.

I pray with people from other denominations at the food bank. We are all committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ. The people at the food bank are like family now. It is wonderful to be in a team of great people who care about people in their community. I needed similar help in the past.

I think Jesus would be happy with the food bank, because when we feed the poor, we feed him. So set the table for justice.

Prayer for Peace Generous God, let us remember, when we feed the hungry, we feed Christ. And, when we work for justice, it is Christ’s peace we share.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the words sink deeply into your mind, heart, and body. Imagine God watching you grow in your mother’s womb. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)?

Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has for you and every one. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How does God invite you to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant Today, God, when I help those in need, I will think of it as your justice, rather than my own charity.

All Are Called…Right Now!

Monday, July 7

7-7By Cindy L. Korf of North Platte, Nebraska, USA

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

—Romans 8:28 NRSV

The week had been hectic with a full-time job, graduate classes, yard work, and preparation for our son’s graduation. On Sunday, my husband and I had spent time doing marital counseling. On Monday, as I walked in the door from work with thoughts about preparing a quick supper so we could attend our son’s band concert, the phone rang.

The man from Sunday’s counseling session asked if I had a second. I hesitantly said, “I have a second,” and that was close to what I meant.

He exclaimed, “My wife is having a breakdown, and we need you to come now!”

I am not perfect. My first thought was, “Why now? Why me?” I had more than I could handle in my own life, and I didn’t have a clue about what to do with “breakdowns.” But, I told him I would come.

I called a few priesthood members to see if they could go with me. No one was available. I prayed as I drove to the home. I prayed as I sat listening to them. Then we prayed together. We found common ground, comfort, and peace.

God provides for us more than we can imagine. I made it to my son’s concert on time that evening. The next day at work we were let out two hours early—double the time I had given for God’s work the night before. God provides for us when we respond to the call for ministry.

Prayer for Peace Ever-present God, give us the faith to minister when out of our comfort zone. We know you are with us when we respond to your call.

Spiritual Practice: Examining God’s Call to Me and to All Reflect on God’s call in your life. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when you experienced God’s presence and invitation. Write in your journal or quietly reflect on images and insights that come.

When has God seemed most real in your life? How and when has God called you to use your energies and gifts? When have you felt God’s love in your life? When have you felt disconnected or resistant to God’s call? How do your gifts and callings connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will not hesitate to respond to a need.

Spiritual Positioning System

Wednesday, June 25

Painting by  Vera Entwistle

Painting by
Vera Entwistle

By Vera Entwistle of Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Listen to the Voice that echoes across the eons of time and yet speaks anew in this moment. Listen to the Voice, for it cannot be stilled, and it calls you once again to the great and marvelous work of building the peaceable kingdom, even Zion, on behalf of the One whose name you claim.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:1b

We were moving to make our home in a town we knew nothing about. Expecting to face challenges in finding our way around, we invested in a state-of-the-art global positioning system (GPS) for our car.

We thought it would solve our problems. We were wrong!

Day after frustrating day we tried to get the GPS to take us to new destinations. However, it continually responded with an emergency signal, advising us our request was denied. We often resorted to asking pedestrians to help us. Finally, we decided to return to the car show room to ask for help.We quickly learned that unlike a previous GPS we’d owned, this new GPS required us to be at a stand still before we could set it to a new destination—a logical safety feature.

As I thought about this, I realized I could learn a lesson from this feature. I soon found myself humming a few bars of the campfire song, “Be Still and Know that I Am God.” I thought of how seldom I stood completely still. I wondered if perhaps this is the reason my spiritual life is often in turmoil. Just like my GPS, I need to be still so I can carefully and prayerfully listen to God’s direction.

Prayer for Peace We pause, God, to praise you. We are still…to attend our many blessings. We are silent…to listen for your direction in our lives. We pause, praise, listen, and pray. From this place, we can journey on to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Time with God Sit quietly and let your breathing become calm and deep. Ask God’s Spirit to rest on you. See or sense the Spirit anointing you in the form of light, a dove, wind, color, or other images that might come. Ask to become aware of God’s love. Listen to the ways in which God wants to flow from your heart as living water. Give thanks that your name is “beloved,” that our name is Community of Christ.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be still and listen before I embark on my journey.

Spiritual Positioning System

Wednesday, June 25

Painting by  Vera Entwistle

Painting by
Vera Entwistle

By Vera Entwistle of Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Listen to the Voice that echoes across the eons of time and yet speaks anew in this moment. Listen to the Voice, for it cannot be stilled, and it calls you once again to the great and marvelous work of building the peaceable kingdom, even Zion, on behalf of the One whose name you claim.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:1b

We were moving to make our home in a town we knew nothing about. Expecting to face challenges in finding our way around, we invested in a state-of-the-art global positioning system (GPS) for our car.

We thought it would solve our problems. We were wrong!

Day after frustrating day we tried to get the GPS to take us to new destinations. However, it continually responded with an emergency signal, advising us our request was denied. We often resorted to asking pedestrians to help us. Finally, we decided to return to the car show room to ask for help.We quickly learned that unlike a previous GPS we’d owned, this new GPS required us to be at a stand still before we could set it to a new destination—a logical safety feature.

As I thought about this, I realized I could learn a lesson from this feature. I soon found myself humming a few bars of the campfire song, “Be Still and Know that I Am God.” I thought of how seldom I stood completely still. I wondered if perhaps this is the reason my spiritual life is often in turmoil. Just like my GPS, I need to be still so I can carefully and prayerfully listen to God’s direction.

Prayer for Peace We pause, God, to praise you. We are still…to attend our many blessings. We are silent…to listen for your direction in our lives. We pause, praise, listen, and pray. From this place, we can journey on to share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Time with God Sit quietly and let your breathing become calm and deep. Ask God’s Spirit to rest on you. See or sense the Spirit anointing you in the form of light, a dove, wind, color, or other images that might come. Ask to become aware of God’s love. Listen to the ways in which God wants to flow from your heart as living water. Give thanks that your name is “beloved,” that our name is Community of Christ.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be still and listen before I embark on my journey.

When the Spirit Says, “Go”…GO!

Tuesday, June 3

6-3By Dennis Aldridge of Eardisley, Hereford, England

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

—Isaiah 58:10–11 NRSV

When I was a young man, recently married, I lived in Bradford in Yorkshire, England. My wife worked in town at Central Library. She used to work some Saturday mornings and then have the afternoon off. One Saturday, I decided to meet her at the library so we could have the rest of the day together in town.

Bradford is in a basin—you walk downhill into it. We did not have a car, and rather than taking the bus into town, I walked. For a reason I don’t remember, I walked an unusual route. I was a young man, dressed in his finery, walking toward town through one of Bradford’s poorer areas.

As I walked down the hill, I saw an elderly woman coming up toward me, pushing a disabled man in a wheelchair. She struggled on the hill. They were dressed poorly, their clothes dirty and tattered. As I passed them, the Spirit said to me, “You could help!”

I did not want to. In my smart clothes, I felt I stood out from those around me, and I was painfully shy. However, the Spirit said, “Help them!”

“May I help you?” I said, and took over pushing the wheelchair. To my dismay the couple made much of what I was doing as I pushed the chair up the hill. They called to all who could hear, “Look at us!” It was clear they were well-known in the neighborhood. People came to their doorways to see about the hullabaloo. I nearly died of embarrassment. I got them safely to their home and then fled to meet my wife.

I have remembered that encounter for more than 50 years. When the Spirit tells you what to do, it’s a good idea to do it.

Prayer for Peace Creator God, help us see all people as worthy and lovable. Help us look past what may be unpleasant, to souls that long to know you. May we be instruments of Christ’s mission.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has for you and for everyone. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will see others as you see them. I will not feel uneasy to serve.

Because of Who God Is

Wednesday, May 28

5-28By Jackie Porter of Thornton, Colorado, USA

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

—James 3:13 NRSV

I like company and didn’t want to go shopping alone. My husband, friends, daughter, and daughter-in-law were all busy, so I went alone. After about three minutes on the freeway, I saw trouble heading right for me.

A large truck tire was flying from oncoming traffic, heading for my car. The traffic was heavy, and I could see no way out. Big trucks were in front and beside me. Slowing down suddenly could be dangerous because we were going about 65 miles per hour.

My life passed in front of me in the space of seconds. Then an impression came to “hang on tight to the steering wheel, and lean left!” I saw the tire bounce up and head straight for my windshield. Terrified, I grasped the steering wheel and leaned to the left. I think I even closed my eyes for a second. I heard a loud bang as the tire tore through the windshield and the roof of my car. I heard and felt the tire fly by my head. Then an inner voice said, “Slow down and pull over to the left.” And I did.

I was alive! Relief flooded my soul. I knew God had been with me. As I finally stopped on the median, I sat there trying to take in what had just happened. A woman opened the car door and asked how I was. “Fine!” I exclaimed. She said I had a bad gash on my arm, which I hadn’t noticed. She made me stay there until the ambulance arrived.

As I walked to the ambulance, I looked at my car. The roof was rolled under like a sardine can. The space where my head was, before I leaned left, had a big piece of metal in it. Another big piece of metal was in the passenger seat. The tire lodged itself in the backseat—in the infant car seat! I was most grateful that I was alone in the car.

God was with me through this storm of terror and has been with me during other storms. The world became new to me that day. The next day a new baby blessed us—our first grandson! Had panic set in, I would have missed holding him in my arms. I was blessed, not because of who I am, but because of who God is.

Prayer for Peace Ever-present God, you are with us through all our storms. Help us to listen for your presence, your voice, and your desires for our lives. Help us respond to your longing for shalom by sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Voices of God What is the voice of God saying to us? Do we hear the whispers of God’s longing for shalom; God’s dream of beauty and wholeness for all creation? Do we hear the “voice” of God calling to us in faces and eyes, in the sounds of suffering and joy, in scripture and sacred word, in tears and laughter, in silence and noise? Reflect on when and how God’s voice speaks to you.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be alert and responsive to your direction.

Tugging on My Heart

Monday, May 19

5-19By Scott Blair of Independence, Missouri, USA

Do not neglect the smallest among you, for even the least of these are treasures in God’s sight. Receive the giftedness, and energy of children and youth, listening to understand their questions and their wisdom. Respond to their need to be loved and nurtured as they grow.

—Doctrine and Covenants 161:4a

I was new to my congregation and had committed my energy to revitalizing the young-adult ministry. I enjoyed it this way and felt it was “enough.” Then I faced a challenging task.

“We need to get a youth group started,” she said. “She” is an elderly woman who had been praying on this matter for some time.

My congregation had lost most of its people under 40, so she was right when she said it was time to start. We had one regular youth, and he was active in all sorts of other events, as well. I didn’t doubt the elderly woman, but I told myself that I was too busy to consider getting involved, so I moved on.

Though I didn’t want to worry about youth, I kept feeling a tugging on my heart that it needed to happen. I chose to pray about it. As I prayed, I thought of people to ask who could help lead the group, since it would not be my primary focus. As I asked people, I found willing volunteers.

Finally, I received a call from a mother who was trying to figure out what to do with her at-risk child. I had experience with children like this, and someone had given her my number. I told her about the youth group we were starting, and she was so excited! She said I could expect him the first day—and he was there!

Our youth group started with one youth. It doubled and tripled as the weeks went on. We now have 16 who attend regularly. They have not all committed to attending Sunday services, but they bring an excitement to the congregation by their attendance at our Wednesday-night program. I thank God for tugging at my heart and helping me understand what the elderly woman obviously knew.

Prayer for Peace Steadfast God, we thank you for your continuous presence, which tugs us to action. Thank you for your unconditional love, which prods us to peace.

Spiritual Practice: Examining God’s Call to Me and to All Reflect on God’s call in your life. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation. How and when has God called you to use your energies and gifts? When have you felt God’s love in your life? When have you felt resistant to God’s call? How do your gifts and callings connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community?

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen for your message and make the right choice.

The Stubborn Sheep

Tuesday, April 15

4-15aBy Nancy Hylton of Seattle, Washington, USA

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

—John 10: 14–17

Because the Sunday-morning speaker was ill and could not preach, the presider shared spontaneously. She had been pondering what we could learn from Jesus during that week before Good Friday and Easter. She related her experiences as the child of a sheepherder.

She shared about the meaning of “sheepfold,” the high walls meant to protect the sheep from predators in the night. Her father had a special call that all the sheep knew. Because sheep are followers, when he called them to the fold, they would follow him.

At least, most of them would follow. Often a stubborn little sheep would be eating grass and not feel like going. So he was left behind. Because he was alone, the stubborn sheep soon would begin “crying” for the shepherd.

What a genuine metaphor our Lord used! How often I have been like that stubborn sheep! At times I found myself deciding there were better things to do than answer the shepherd’s call to guidance and safety, to purpose and mission.

The message was powerful! I often think of myself trying hard not to be that stubborn sheep! I remember the sacrifice of the Good Shepherd and I listen for his voice.

Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, be patient with us when we think we don’t need you. Call us again and remind us whose we are. Remind us of Christ’s mission of peace and of our part in the community fold.

Spiritual Practice: Voices of God
What is the voice of God saying to us? Do we hear the whispers of God’s longing for shalom, God’s dream of beauty and wholeness for all creation? Do we hear the “voice” of God calling to us in faces and eyes, in the sounds of suffering and joy, in scripture and sacred word, in tears and laughter, in silence and noise?

Spend a few moments reflecting on when and how God’s voice has spoken to you. When did you first feel called to follow Christ in the pursuit of peace and justice? How does that call to shalom continue to come to you through the many “voices” of God?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will listen for your voice and follow.