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.
-Philippians 2: 1-2
Where do you turn for peace of mind amid the violence of our time?
Yet, when we stumble over the line, or are
loved over the line, or, in our exhaustion,
fall beyond our pain, what we feared
was a fall to our death turns out
to have been the next step.
Are you listening,
are you watching,
are you wincing and worrying too?
Are you weeping yet,
at the state of things
in this woeful world?
You know the age-old story,
of lines drawn in the sand,
of rocks and rockets, and screaming blood-stained faces.
If you are not deeply disturbed
by the escalation of violence in word and deed and policy,
then you are not yet awake?
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.
-Philippians 2: 3-4
How has it come again to this:
fanaticism and fear,
fueling brutalities to break God’s heart?
God’s human family is lacerated
by culture wars, ethnic conflicts, and partisan divides
that spawn and sustain unspeakable inequities.
What does it say about us,
if we let ourselves grow numb to self-destructive supremacies,
or become accustomed to witnessing daily devastations?
Where are we headed? Who is at the helm of our hearts?
Where is that humble, Holy Spirit of Peace
that can re-member this bruised and broken body?
Where else do we turn to guide our feet onto the way of peace,
except to re-turn to Christ,
to be re-minded, re-formed and re-directed.
The Prince of Peace is Jesus Christ.
…True Christians do not know vengeance.
They are children of peace, and they walk in the way of peace.
But how do we make peace
a personal, public, prayerful, priority
in hearts, homes, and communities of faith?
Let indignation turn to tears and disarm our hearts.
Let tears transfigure anger into compassion.
Let compassion lead us out beyond the limits of our love.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself…
-Philippians 2: 5-6
As you hold the fear-filled refugees in your heart,
invoke that healing spirit of peace
to purge resentment from you and from the hearts of fighters on every side.
Will you pray with me too,
for the multitudes of peace-makers
bravely bearing food, medicine and the possibility of reconciliation into the rubble?
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in the one body.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace,
to the terrors of our world
and to the troubles of your heart.