By Brooke Holt
“Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” The Collect for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany, Book of Common Prayer
Nothing is much more disturbing to people than living in a contentious atmosphere. Whether it is parents, children, neighbors, extended family, or church members fighting, ongoing conflict is exhausting and challenging. Unfortunately, we live in a time characterized by conflict. Simply turning on the nightly news shows plenty of drama. How much worse if that drama continues in your home, family, neighborhood, or church?
As we join in the prayer of our Collect for today, we beseech the Lord to grant us peace through Jesus Christ. Is that your means of dealing with conflict – turning to prayer and looking at the person as Jesus does through the grace he has given you?
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus encountered much opposition. The religious leaders loved to pick fights with him; they constantly accused him of breaking one law or another; and the people conspired against him. Nevertheless, Jesus lived a life of peace. Now this peace was not devoid of emotions. He certainly felt the accompanying emotions– anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. However, Jesus did not allow these emotions to define or confine him in any way.
Jesus persevered in speaking the truth in love to everyone – to his friends, his family, and even those who opposed him. God’s truth is what defined Jesus and guided Jesus. By remaining in that truth, Jesus maintained perfect peace even while turmoil surrounded him.
Jesus would like you to live in his peace today despite the conflict that may surround you. To experience his peace, you may want to consider following his example: pray, stay in God’s truth, don’t deny feelings but don’t let them define you, and follow the guidance of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, you can experience the peace of Christ in this world and maybe you can even bring peace into the tumultuous relationships in your life.
Where do you need to experience the peace of Christ? Will you join in this prayer of the Collect today and then continue in the example of Jesus Christ? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living.
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