Daily Devotion for September 1, 2020

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.  (John 14:27)
“Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.” (“You Are Mine” refrain – The Faith We Sing, 2218, C 1991, GIA Publications, Inc.)
This scripture passage, along with the refrain from “You Are Mine” came into my mind this morning during my meditation time. I needed to hear these messages today. This past week or so has been fairly frenetic and frantic for me as we begin to prepare more intensely for our virtual Annual Conference Session, along with other work and ministry, and the situations facing our churches and communities in Kenosha and around our globe. Taking time to breathe, to sit in silence, and to rest in God’s surrounding Spirit usually gives me the spiritual space I need for sustenance. However, I had allowed myself to get so caught up in details and scattered responsibilities, that I hadn’t really quieted nor rested in God. How grateful I am for the music and scripture presences in my life which also teach me and call me back into God’s presence.
I imagine we all are feeling frenetic and frantic quite often these days. We can get caught up in the news, worrying about the violence, anger, pain, and political polarization, and it affects us spiritually. We are busy re-inventing what it means to be the church with virtual worship and meetings, bridging across ways we end up being isolated and disconnected with each other, and longing for reconnecting and seeing and touching people, for singing and praying together, and for serving and caring in tangible ways for mission and outreach – and these affect us spiritually. It’s easy to feel alone, lonely and even disconnected from God and our faith. It is easy to despair and wonder how we can be people of justice and peace in this fractured and hurting world and in our own neighborhoods and homes. How do we find our ways through all of this?
Then out of the storms and struggles of life, Jesus speaks and reminds us that the peace of Christ is promised to us. Jesus was facing his impending arrest, trials, and crucifixion as he spoke these words to his disciples. In that time of terror and chaos, he assured his disciples of the gift of his peace, reminded them to abide in connection with community as the vine and branches, and invited them to love one another in new and more profound ways. Jesus understood that we are all interconnected through the Spirit of God and that, in grace, we are all doing the best we know how – the disciples – and even us today. We can have the compassion and healing love of Christ for one another – and ourselves.
We can hold one another in prayer, listen to one another with the heart of Jesus Christ, care for one another even in the midst of chaos and know, know in the dept of our faith and spirit and souls, that we are called to be people of justice and peace in the name and hope that Christ offers. We are not alone. We are loved. Thanks be to God.
Fill us with your peace, God of life and love. We pray in the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.

May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.