Article: Peace

Columnist Deborah Mathis wrote about the time when she was at Union Station in Washington D.C. on a particularly busy day. 

The first thing she remembers about that experience was the noisy hubbub of sounds. The public address announcer calling out arrivals and departures. Scores of pagers, walkie-talkies, and cell phones cried out for someone’s attention.

You could hear horns honking, machines clinking out change, and babies crying. A security guard yelled at a man who was about to enter a forbidden area. Three women stood up from their bench in order to argue with each other more loudly.

And a man in front of her was nervously pacing in a tight circle.

But then she heard someone singing:

“What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear;
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.”

Slowly a change came over the noisy crowd. The voice continued:

“O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.”

The quarreling women stopped their talking and quietly took their seats. People who’d been tense and hurried; seemed to slow and relax – and they strained to hear the voice singing the remaining verses that old hymn.

And Ms. Mathis realized she was singing along. So were the three women who had been bickering. And few others as well.

The man in front of her, who had been behaving nervously quietly said: “Nice, huh? I don’t even believe in Jesus, but that’s nice.”

I can’t help but think about the line in that wonderful hymn: O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear.

Anxieties can run high when life is challenging.  Even in this moment as we see the pain and suffering in Ukraine, it weighs on us. Then add in stresses and worries of our own including making ends meet while trying to fill the gas tank as well as the people we are praying for who are struggling. That is a lot of anxiety and an absence of peace.

Last year Bruce Ewing reminded the congregation to: Stop, Breath and Listen. When life is unmanageable to the point of tears it is time stop what we are doing. Take a deep breath and listen for the voice of God.

One of the best ways to hear from God is to pray first.

So… let us pray,

Gracious God,

You know the stress and anxiety we feel because of international strife, national unrest and struggles in our own lives. We come to you in prayer because you told us you would always hear us when we call out. Give us your peace. Give us a larger portion of your Spirit and give us the strength to face the challenges that are set before us in this season of turmoil. In the strong and powerful name of Jesus we pray, amen.

God bless you,
Pr. Ben