A Memory

Tuesday, November 11

11-11By John Bonney of Springfield, Oregon, USA

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2, 4

Eventually, each of us will leave this Earth and the familiar form we know. Our link to the living will dissolve—at least for a time, as far as we know. My relationship with my mother was uniquely close. Or, as Margaret Meade famously said, “You are unique, just like everyone else.” I loved Mom dearly and she loved me unconditionally.

Every time my wife and I went to see Mom at the senior home, we walked down a long, dull hallway. Each time we left we walked the same path. As I said good-bye and I hugged my mother to me, I would always wonder if this were the last time I would hold her—“Will I see her alive again, or is this the final good-bye?”

After she died, we carried some of her belongings down that long hallway. With each trip, we took away some small part of my mother’s life. And, sometime before that experience, I had indeed hugged her for the last time. I did not know it at the time.

So between her six children, we divided her possessions. Each took a token of her life. No one felt short-changed; we felt only that our time with her was too short. One day you are here, and all the trappings of life that you hold are here with you. Then the sun goes down, leaving tokens and memories as testimony. They perhaps say, “There was a person here for a season—a child of God, loving and loved, now with God, at peace.”

Prayer for Peace Compassionate God, we thank you for the people in our lives. May we cherish them each day of their lives. May we share their stories and the peace of Jesus Christ.

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 of you and every child. 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 hug a loved one, not knowing what tomorrow brings.

Clean up, Clean out

Monday, March 17

3-17By Linda Porter of Maryland Heights, Missouri, USA

It is not pleasing to God when any passage of scripture is used to diminish or oppress races, genders, or classes of human beings. Much physical and emotional violence has been done to some of God’s beloved children through the misuse of scripture. The church is called to confess and repent of such attitudes and practices.

—Doctrine and Covenants 163:7C

While cleaning my apartment to get ready for a Wednesday-night “home meeting,” it struck me that I clean well only when someone is coming over! I then began thinking about Jesus coming and wondered how much I’d have to clean for his visit.

I’d have to clean out my old prejudices to understand youth today. I saw three boys walking down the road and commented negatively to my daughter about their orange Mohawk hairdos. She said to relax; they’d be the doctors I would rely on in my old age! It made me think of my own youth. I sincerely hope I have changed since then.

I’d have to clean the corners of my mind that harbor resentment and envy. How many times have I seen someone with a better car and wished it were mine? (Too many to list). But Jesus said to love our neighbors, not judge them or wish for what they had.

There are spots on my carpet that never go away. So I’d better look at my attitude and see if I have some ideas that stick in my mind—like judging the behavior of others. If Jesus said love your neighbor, who am I to decide who is “worthy” of my love? Aren’t all people my neighbors by Jesus’ definition?

My preconceived judgments need to be spot-lifted and cleaned up. How often have I used the scriptures to defend my position on a subject and then found passages that defend the opposition? We use scriptures too willfully. I pray I can clean out the hurtful uses and find wisdom to live kindly.

I’m thinking I have much more cleaning and letting go to do. Perhaps I need to look more compassionately at others—they may be cleaning, too!

Prayer for Peace
Eternal God, thank you for the affirmation of your shalom in the life of Jesus Christ. If we ever question the meaning of a scripture, may we look to his life as our ultimate guide.

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. Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has of you and every child. 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 let go of diminishing attitudes and practices.

When We Dance Together

Monday, February 24

2-24By John Bonney of Springfield, Oregon, USA

And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

—Matthew 5:47–48

I try to acknowledge people as they pass me, looking for a seat on the bus or even sitting next to me. I not only try to see the Spirit in them, but to affirm them. Affirmation gives others the sense that someone else notices that they “are.” They have value and worth.

As people come in contact with me I may merely nod to them, perhaps smile, and on some occasions we talk. Most folks are a passing story. I just present to them a look in my eyes that says “you count for something.”

I often rode the bus with a young woman named Calista. She was 21 years old at the time, afflicted with cerebral palsy, and I had difficulty understanding her. Still we enjoyed a connection over those months we rode together. I learned a little more of her story. While I knew her, she married and seemed happy. I hope she knows that matters to me.

I often wondered if physical, emotional, intellectual challenges mask the inner person. Patrick has Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and is 10 years younger than I. I saw him regularly on the bus for about three years. I understood about 10 percent of what Pat said, but his character came through loud and clear. Despite our limitations, all people reflect the God who made them.

As we dance into the rest of our existence, limitations fall away. We will be known. We are worthy of the wonder of our creation. I imagine that it pleases God when we all dance together.

Prayer for Peace
Loving God, all people of your creation have worth. May we learn to look past the physical shell and see the spiritual people—to see the reflection of their Creator. To see the Christ whose 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 of you and every child. Be aware of the sacred Worth of All Persons. 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 take the time to affirm the passing stranger.

Love beyond Boundaries

Sunday, February 23

Wim vanKlinken

Wim van Klinken

By Wim van Klinken, director of International Headquarters

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.”

—Matthew 5:38–41

Unfortunately, over the centuries, many have misinterpreted and even misused these words in Matthew because of a lack of knowledge of the background in which Jesus spoke them. Many have interpreted and used Jesus’ sayings to submissively endure oppression and abuse. Some have even used them to justify submission. Others, finding such an interpretation unacceptable, have answered evil with evil, murder with murder, violence with violence, cheating with cheating.

In Jesus’ times, Roman military code stated soldiers could ask servants to carry for a mile their luggage. However, if a soldier would use them any longer, the soldier would face retribution from his superior. Going another mile was an act of civil disobedience that would bring the oppressor trouble. Similarly, by offering the other cheek and outer coat, Jesus calls for nonviolent resistance.

Knowing the cultural setting, these servants would likely refuse and would put the oppressor in an impossible position. Jesus calls us to go beyond the boundaries of our normal responses and oppose marginalization and oppression in a manner that keeps love and the Worth of All Persons, even our enemies.

Prayer for Peace
God of justice, may we love our “enemies” bravely enough to require of them respect and honor for the worth of all creation. May we not demand from them that which we would not demand of ourselves. May we not stop at minimal acts of love, but go beyond conventional boundaries to love as Christ loved.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons
Read Psalm 139:13–18. 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 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 and justice.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will peacefully resist injustice.

No Matter How Little

Saturday, February 8

2-8By Ramona Seeley of Leeton, Missouri, USA

You are called to create pathways in the world for peace in Christ to be relationally and culturally incarnate. The hope of Zion is realized when the vision of Christ is embodied in communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness.

—Doctrine and Covenants 163:3a

I have a testimony with a simple message. My father was a railroad engineer on the Chicago-Burlington-Quincy Railroad in Northern Illinois. He was also an elder in Community of Christ. As a child, I didn’t realize we were in the middle of a Great Depression.

Transient people came to our house every day. They first asked if there was any work they could do. We never turned anyone away. We shared whatever food we had, no matter how little.

Today, with modern communication technology, we instantly are aware of the suffering, poverty, and diseases of our world. Jesus would not have us turn anyone away. He would have us share whatever we have, no matter how little.

I once lived in a community
where people chatted over low fences,
and screened windows stayed open at night.
The only intruders were neighbors
who entered to set fresh bread
or an apple pie on the table.
The roadside stand was laden with tomatoes ripened in the sun,
and a hand-lettered sign said,
“Weigh your purchase and put your money in the box.
Would it be possible for all the people of the world
to live in such trust and peace?

—Peggy Michael

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, may we never turn away those in need. May we take on your compassion and share what we have, no matter how little.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons
Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has for you and everyone. Be aware of the sacred Worth of All Persons. 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 accept the invitation to protect, heal, and affirm the dignity of the vulnerable.

Peaceable Sports

Thursday, October 24

10-24By Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.

—James 3:17

One crisp day near the autumn harvest time, our extended family and friends gathered for a turkey dinner. We expected about 40 people, so we reserved the dining hall at a campground.

Recovering from a fractured tibia in my right leg, I was “forced” to rest while several others cooked and served the meal (too bad…so sad). My husband set up a lawn chair for me outside and I spent this waiting-for-dinner time watching the children play. Soccer was on the agenda for children and youth from ages 4 to 18—boys and girls, big and small.

No, the 18 children did not divide into separate teams—they were all together. They didn’t choose players for teams or leave anyone out. Everyone cheered and encouraged everyone else. Kicks passed from older to younger were gentle. The usually fast players ran in slow-motion so little legs could keep up. Goalies accidentally-on-purpose allowed younger children the GOOOOOOAL! Usually competitive youth were willing to yield points to build up confidence in others. They naturally honored the worth of each person.

This scenario did not sacrifice the fun, but rather increased it by the spirit of sharing. The two oldest boys, Wesley and J’Cole, heads taller than the rest, were right in the mix—coaching and teaching as they played. The rest of the children were excited just to have them there.

You see, these two boys are members of the Sporting Kansas City Team Juniors. The professional team calls them up to play occasionally. Part of this program is doing community service. Wesley and J’Cole did not flaunt their skills. They didn’t patronize the younger ones. They didn’t play “around” them—they played “with” them. And they had as much fun as the little rookies. It was a heart-warmer on a cool day.

Prayer for Peace
Coach of our lives, may we sometimes set aside our need to win, to share winning moments with others. May we honor the worth of all by sharing the spotlight and Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
Read and reflect on Psalm 42:1–2. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. The call to journey inward can restore us in times of physical or spiritual depletion. Listen prayerfully again to the psalm, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” As you feel restored, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey. Remember this exercise as you drink water throughout the day.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will play and share with others without keeping score.

A New Life in Christ

Tuesday, June 25

6-25By Cindy Korf of North Platte, Nebraska, USA

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

—Ezekiel 37:26–27

I live in a part of the United States once called the “Great American Desert.” It is land that was considered unfit for cultivation and inhabitation by people, mainly because of the lack of water. Yet, as the early pioneers traversed this land, the sight of lone windmills soon sprinkled the terrain. Those windmills—the source of water and life—changed this land into a place of value and new life.

We, too, are sparse in an inhospitable world. We who would be sanctuaries and signal communities for those on a spiritual journey can point to a God whose dwelling place is among us. Through Christ, each of us becomes a new person, a landmark offering hope and life in a barren world. We can be windmills for the wearied voyager by directing them to the living water of Christ. Here they will find a new and blessed life. What once was considered worthless is now rich and valuable.

Prayer for Peace
God who sends us Living Water, we need not thirst again. God who sets sanctuary among us, we are not afraid. God who calls us to be sanctuary for others, may we share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Invite People to Christ
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 162:3b and 163:2b. Pray to be aware of people who might be receptive, and therefore blessed, by your sharing of the message of the Living Christ. Imagine being in relationship with them and inviting them to Christ. In preparation, discover your personal testimony of Christ. “Be persistent in your witness and diligent in your mission to the world.” Repeat this mantra throughout the day: “Christ’s mission, our mission, my mission.”

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will be a beacon for the lost, a well for the thirsty.

Well-used Faith

By Vera Entwistle of Forster Keys, New South Wales, Australia

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.  Galatians 5:22–23

The “Antiques Road Show” is one of my favorite television programs. I tune in, hoping to discover one of my possessions is worth a lot of money.

The show’s drama comes from people not recognizing the value of what they have. To them it may just be a dust collector; maybe they received it as a gift. They don’t realize its value.

I wonder if the same can be said about me and my faith? Does it gather dust until some crisis comes along and I need something to cling to?

Our son had a medical crisis and was rushed into emergency surgery. His dad and I jumped in the car to dash to his bedside when a call came from the hospital that surgery was imminent. We asked that our son be given a phone so we could talk to him. His first words were, “Mom and Dad, I am so scared, and there’s no one here to pray for me.”

Today, as I look at my now-healthy son, the memory of that experience reminds me to dust off my faith and hold onto my testimony of a God who cares for us all, even when we are not in crisis.

Prayer for Peace:

God of love, joy, faith, and peace, let us remember to practice these fruitful gifts when we are secure, as well as when we are afraid. Let our hearts be at peace, knowing we have our well-used faith in you to rely on.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Encountering Scripture as Continuing Revelation

Each day this week read and pray with the Doctrine and Covenants as continuing revelation of God’s vision for the church and creation. Choose a favorite section or focus on recent counsel in Sections 156–164.

Read a few selected paragraphs slowly three or four times. Pause to pray for deep understanding of meaning after the first reading. Pray for your heart and emotions to open to the text after the second reading. After the third reading, prayerfully ask to hear the particular phrase or word that speaks to you or touches your life. Stay with this word or phrase. Listen as fully and openly as you can. What sense of divine presence or invitation comes? What is revealed?

Peace Covenant:

God, I will keep my faith ready to go.