27th Sunday in OT
‘...the Peace of God will be with you.’
Dear Family in Christ,
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of one’s ‘sphere of concern’ vs ‘sphere of influence’; the distinction between the things in our lives that can have an affect on us, and those which we can have an affect on. Consider the manner in which we consume media: you and I have historically unprecedented access to instant news updates from all over the world. As a result, our sphere of concern has grown far beyond our sphere of influence, and overwhelmed our capacity for compassion.
As a finite human person, I simply cannot bear the full knowledge of the tragedy and evil that takes place across our world today, let alone whatever impending doom lurks around the corner. The fact that I feel helpless to stop it only makes it worse, and even prevents me from doing what I could actually do. The effects are evident particularly(not exclusively) in our young people; despair, anxiety, and unhealthy coping methods abound, yet we can’t seem to find the one thing we so desperately need - Peace.
In this Sunday’s second reading, St. Paul wishes this peace to his beloved Philippians in an affectionate letter (written from prison, of all places). It’s a powerful reminder that we can and must find peace in the face of circumstances beyond our control:
“Do not worry about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The peace of God is beyond all understanding because it prevails in times, places, and circumstances that rage against it- like a jail cell, or an overwhelming sphere of concern. This Thanksgiving, I pray you are able to experience His Peace with those you love. To this end, may we fold up the newspapers, turn off the TVs, put down our phones, shut the laptops, and direct our attention to the people and things that give us so much to be thankful for.
For my part, I am especially grateful to God for the privilege of being your associate pastor.