Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, September 12, 2011

Receive My Peace

Receive My Peace. It is My continual gift to you. ~ Sarah Young (Jesus Calling, September 12)

Pausing and resting for a few moments as I begin a new day.... The Shadows - Peace Pipe

Yesterday was a FULL day!

I left home at 5:45 so that I could make a stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies for the day and then it was on to my community of faith nestled within the cornfields of Shelby Co.

September 11 was the date for the annual Worship in the Park, which includes  a picnic and games.  Because of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Tragedy, we also planned a Service of Remembrance at the church.

The worship time was wonderful and there has to be more good cooks in this congregation than any other in the county! I am always amazed at the amount of food at these picnics.

A little after 1:00 we walked to the church to host a community wide service of remembrance.  I was touched in ways I had not expected.  One woman whose father's funeral was being held at the church on September 11, 2001 came and sang in the choir.  She shared with me her dad had been a pilot and she had always wondered what his thoughts might have been on that day as planes were highjacked in order to create such tragedy.

I offered time during the service for names and stories of that day to be lifted up.  Besides the story of a father's funeral, another woman shared how a friend had dreamt of moving to New York.  She had been so excited as her dream came true.  She had been in New York two days on 9/11.  That fateful day, she was in the World Trade Towers.

Another, shared how her best friend's son had served this nation all over the world.  Sue worried constantly, knowing her son's postion always had him in the heat of any battle.  But, he was home, so life was good. This devoted son and soldier was in the Pentagon ten years ago. Survivors told stories of a large man in uniform holding up beams and barking orders on how to escape.

Our illusion of control was shattered ten years ago, making today's devotion in Sarah Young's, Jesus Calling even more poignant.
"Receive My Peace. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than you can imagine: not only in you, but also on earth and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care."
This morning I rose with a headache.  I still felt a sense of tiredness from yesterday and instead of taking the time to read Sarah's devotion or to sit down with scripture, I was going to just skip it and get busy.  Honestly, I wasn't in the mood to sit.

Yet, Spirit was really encouraging me to SIT DOWN, SAN!!! Thankfully, I listened.

First I was struck by how Eugene Peterson transposes Isaiah 30:15-17. Verse 15 reads:
"...Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourself. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."
Yesterday, during the Remembrance Service, I used passages from Job.  I shared that scripture does not say we will not suffer and at times we will suffer unjustly! That seems to be the reality of life. Yet, it isn't the suffering that claims our hearts and souls, it is suffering without God.  Isaiah 30:17:

"There'll be nothing left of you - a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off."

You know, I felt a bit like a flagpole with no flag this morning as I stumbled into the kitchen.

Next I read Paul's letter to the church in Corinth. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
"The world is unprincipled...We don't live or fight our battles that way...The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt cultures..."
Last evening I watched a portion of a show that featured individuals who had worked to search and rescue victims of the World Trade Towers. One man said something like, "9/11 didn't happen ten years ago, it is still happening." This was true for him and the others gathered with him because of the illnesses rescuers have battled since they worked amid the debris of the Towers.

This morning I remembered his words as I reflected on Paul's letter to the Corinthians.  9/11 shattered my/our illusion of control, of being safe.  Even with the heightened security, living in rural Indiana, I still live with the illusion of peace, totally discounting the spiritual warfare that is going on around and within me and those I love.

This passage from 2 Corinthians reminds me that battles on this earth are fought with deadly weapons.  Eugene Peterson would most likely refer to them as "tools for war."  Peterson notes that human kind is heavily involved with tools.
"Every human endeavor - framing, cooking, learning, building, even believing - requires tools. Some tools are made of wood, some of metal, some of words. Prayer is a tool that is made mostly of words, but it's no less a tool than one made of steel." (Eugene Peterson, Conversations, p 1811)
Peterson continues with these thoughts by pointing out to me that all the tools are essential: the plow for farming, the book for learning, pots of cooking, prayers for believing. All the sources of our action - body, mind, sprit - are dependent on tools.

I'm a farm girl! I've been around tools my whole life.  Tools to till the land and to harvest. Tools to work with livestock. Tools to garden and to can or freeze....

I had not paused to consider the warfare going on around me just as I had not considered my time sitting with scripture, music, prayer... as using tools.
"Life is the issue, human whole in a world in which God is in action. To live as human beings means that we use tools...We live well or badly by means of the tools we have and how well we use them." (Peterson, ibid) 
I am sure the images of 9/11 being everywhere this past week have given me a heart that is more opened to hearing God's word shared in Isaiah and 2 Corinthians.  Like I said, I seldom consider the spiritual warfare going on around me.  The statement by the rescuer, "9/11 is still happening..." opened my heart to hearing these words of scripture in a new way...  Eugene Peterson compounded the message of these verses by referring to prayer, reading "tools" used in order for me to live well.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, John tells us that he promised a gift, a Helper, to his disciples.  John 14:25-27.  I love verse 27:

"That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left..."
"God, I thank you and praise you for the gift of your 'nudge' to SIT DOWN this morning.  Because I listened, I am stepping into this new day equipped with the peace you offer through your Word and through time sitting quietly with you in reflection and prayer. Thank you for the reminder that I need you to live wholly and sane. May the peace you have given me this morning be given those I come in contact with throughout my day. AMEN.

Yesterday I used the church's veterans and children in the Remembrance Service.  I closed by telling those gathered that for the sake of our children, we, as people of faith, have to discover ways to trust God with history so that they, our children and our children's children might know peace.  It sounds impossible, yet it will not happen without individuals deciding to take that step.  I am reminded of the old proverb, "Be the change you wish to see."

I have used this song many times in the past, yet, as I consider the children, it remains my prayer...Let There Be Peace on Earth - by The Choir Boys


Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. It still amazes me as to how many lives that day touched. What a loving tribute your community and church hosted. I was not at the Pentagon that day but I used to work there and it really hit me very hard to know that the plane hit almost exactly where I used to work--and where I thought it was very safe to be.


  2. Sandi: Your comment on my post gave me cold chills. I send you condolences on the loss of your friend's son. The military personnel at The Pentagon are very transient. They are usually the "cream of the crop" and rotate through on a duty tour. I have never heard if anyone I knew (military or civilian) lost their lives that day. I do remember how safe I felt those years that I worked there. Of course, this was 25 years ago. I felt safe everywhere!! Thank you for sharing that loving story of the man and his dog.


  3. Thank you for the beautiful services on Sunday.