Gone but not Forgotten

Friday, September 19

9-19By Cindy Thomas of Independence, Missouri, USA

But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant peace.

—Psalm 37:11, NRSV adapted

I went back several times over the years to visit the place of my youth. The farmhouse, outbuildings, trees, roads, pastures, and hills brought vivid memories.

Returning to my home caused me to reflect on where I had come from and how that place shaped who I am as an adult. I have not returned in the last few years because the farmhouse, trees, and buildings are now gone.

I realize the importance of that place is not in the physical buildings and landscape. The people, the friends, the community made the lasting changes within me. I know, too, the church buildings, reunion grounds, and people that nourished my spiritual growth throughout the years may no longer exist, but the friendships made leave a lasting and peaceful presence in my life.

Friendship is a two-way street,
sharing without measure
and often proving costly.
In this bond, lives are interwoven,
giving and accepting.
Humbly we try to meet
these exacting needs.
Even so, I beg of you—
May I call you friend?

                                                                                           —Peggy Michael

Prayer for Peace God of the past, present, and future, we thank you for the people in our lives. As they have blessed us in days gone by, may we bless others with friendship and by sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Teacher-Learner The first disciples of Jesus followed to hear his words, to be taught, to learn a new way of living, to practice what they learned in daily life. Prayerfully consider your role as a teacher-learner, disciple-apprentice; a people cultivator in Community of Christ. In your journal write the names of several people you discern as teachers or mentors and several you feel called to nurture and encourage in specific ways. Ask God’s blessing on you and your congregation as a community of learners.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will remember those who helped shape me. I will consider who may need my help on their spiritual journey.

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New House, New Chapter

Thursday, September 11

9-11By Peggy Michael of Cantonment, Florida, USA

He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

—Luke 14:12–14 NRSV

What time is it, I wondered? A time of old age might describe my answer—or it might be time for a fresh start. I realize it is up to me to choose how I view this interlude in my life. It gives me something to think about.

I have lived through many interesting seasons, and I value each one. Once my husband and I put down roots, we stayed. We lived in one house 40 years, and raised our family there. Then I moved into another house for 10 years.

With each move I faced the challenge of sorting trash from treasure. We lived modestly, and tried to practice good stewardship. Still, the inventory grew beyond my need. So I enlisted the help of friends, family, and even a few strangers and shared useful items with them. I set my space in order and settled in for the last time, I thought.

To my astonishment two major events happened to me. My call to the office of evangelist came first. Then my son suggested we gather our financial resources and build a modest cottage next to his home. I moved in, and my colleague evangelists and I are planning a house blessing service as soon as possible.

God enabled me to prepare this sacred space for God’s children. I will invite the weary to stop by and rest with God for a while. It will be a place of solitude and prayer. Together we will recognize that God is holy and worthy of our worship and devotion. How can I help but offer the place where I live to those who need affirmation, love, and peace.

What time is it? It is time to write a new chapter of life with zeal and anticipation of continuing my journey with our beloved Savior.

Prayer for Peace Create in us, O God, hospitality for the stranger. Make of us sanctuaries of 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 plan a feast for hungry souls.