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Daily Encouragement - May 15

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

— Romans 12:16-18

Shortly after the attacks of September 11th, the members of Congress from both parties appeared on the steps of the Capitol and sang “God Bless America.” It was a moment of unity and pride that made our hearts swell. David Broder, a columnist, wrote a piece about the moment of unity and the feeling of “comity” as it is known in the Congress. Being a friend of the family, I reach out to Mr. Broder and asked him about that unity. I asked him especially how long he thought it would last. His reply has stuck with me for some 19 years now. He said, “it will last for as long as it is in the political interest of the members of Congress.” Sad, but true. Sometime after the end of September that year, it ceased to be in the interest of politicians to be united and we returned our familiar camps.

In March, when first we heard about Coronavirus, there was a moment of coming together. We felt “we are all in this together” and we were ready to help in any way. I heard from so many, asking if they could deliver groceries to people in need. I even had people offering to provide toilet paper for persons in need, a major sacrifice to be sure. We may have grumbled about missing worship, we may have been saddened not to see friends and family, we may even have wondered how long this would last, and yet, we were ready to chip in, to pull together, to help one another.

Something happened, though, and we became disillusioned with the sacrifices made. They weren’t made equally and eventually they felt sacrificial. In the last few weeks, it feels like there is a drifting toward our familiar camps. Living at peace with one another isn’t easy. It requires us to listen to one another, to make space for one another, and to care about one another, even if we do not agree on plans and policies.

Paul’s word to us is to think about our part; how can I live at peace with others? How can I keep peace in everyone’s interest? How can I be the instrument of peace God has asked me to be. There will be disagreements about the next stages of this crisis, but, so far as we are able, let’s seek peace.

Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me

Let There Be Peace on Earth

The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Creator

Children all are we

Let us walk with each other

In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

With ev'ry step I take

Let this be my solemn vow

To take each moment and live

Each moment in peace eternally

Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me

Prayer of St Francis: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is offense, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union. Where there is error, let me bring truth. Where there is doubt, let me bring faith. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring your light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that one receives, it is in self-forgetting that one finds, it is in pardoning that one is pardoned, it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen.

Pastor Tom

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