Tag Archives: peace

Peace on a Day of Remembrance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 11 2016

peace-dove-earth

Peace on a Day of Remembrance

I read the last two verses of Psalm 120, feeling sad and disheartened. The psalmist seems disheartened, too. 120:6 – “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.”

Yes, this is one of the psalms (or songs) which were historically said or used or read in the procession to the Temple in Jerusalem. However, these verses of scripture look to be positive towards peace. Even though peace may seem to be a really positive idea, he has dwelt among the hate-mongers too long.

I suspect the psalmist is jaded. Doubtful that any change—positive change—can come. What is to be done? 120:7 – “I am a person of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”

This verse makes me really disheartened, as I said. At first glance, there is no hope, no positive side to be found. However, the psalmist could be at the end of his rope. So far gone, that he falls at the feet of God. He might realize he depends on God alone, if those surrounding him were persistently crying out for war.

Peace. Crying out for peace. Sometimes it seems that I am a lone voice crying out for peace. God, especially with the reminder of September 11th fresh in all of our minds, help me to be a catalyst for peace and reconciliation. Help us all to spread the words of peace, wholeness and harmony. So help me, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

God’s Word Brings Peace.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, September 8, 2016

god-brings-peace

God’s Word Brings Peace.

Psalm 119 is one of my favorite psalms. Hands down. I love so many things about it. First off, every one of its 176 verses mentions God’s word. Or, statutes, or God’s law. In a multitude of ways, this chapter of the Hebrew Scriptures acknowledges the awesomeness of God’s Word, the Bible.

I’d like to focus on one verse: Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”

This verse comes at the tail end of the psalm. You’d think, after dozens and dozens of verses of description, of how amazing God’s Word is—but, no. The unknown author powers through to the end, extolling the wonders of the Bible.

Back to verse 165. This verse talks about peace. As in, shalom. Not only the cessation of conflict and war, not to mention violence. But, the harmony and wholeness of shalom. How the Bible—and the regular, intentional reading of it—provides peace.

Now, the author does not say, but I see this verse as talking about the inside attitude. The attitude of people who regularly read the Bible and study it.

I am sure the author knows about the various uncertain situations here in this world, because he uses descriptive language concerning the uneasy, unpleasant world in other verses.  I know the author wants to show that God’s Word can help overcome, no matter what the adversary, no matter how unpleasant the situation. Plus, in this particular verse, the author affirms that God’s Word brings peace. God’s Word helps the reader to maintain a firm footing, a firm grip on their road or their way. I don’t know about you, but I sure need that!

Let’s pray. Gracious God, thank You for all of the many varieties of help, encouragement and support we may find in God’s Word—the Bible. Especially, thank You for the certainty the author has in this verse: those who love Your Word will not stumble, and peace will come into their hearts. Not only passing peace, peace on the surface, but great peace. I need great peace right now. Thank You for this good promise. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 6, 2016

peace-word-cloud-3

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

I gathered together with a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, interfaith group of people for a banquet on Sunday evening. The banquet was co-hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Society of North America at a Chicago-area convention center. Such a fascinating group of people. The booths at the 53rd annual ISNA conference I was invited to seemed a beehive of activity, too.

One meaningful highlight of the banquet was the opportunity to hear Khizr and Gazala Khan, the parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan. (Capt. Khan was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, a Purple Heart recipient buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.) After being catapulted to international fame from speaking at the Democratic National Convention some weeks ago, the Khans continue to be the measured, sincere representatives of their faith in God. They both brought that same message of faith, honor and love for their adopted country to those who attended the ISNA banquet on Sunday.

However, not all the speakers at the banquet had positive messages. A strong concern came from Dr. Christopher Bain, professor of social sciences at Duke University. He spoke on the motion of the widespread demonization of Islam (and of individual Muslims, in general) throughout the United States since 9/11, fifteen years ago. This negative message of “radical Muslims” has moved from the fringes of national discourse rapidly into mainstream thought and media perception, in less than fifteen years. This concerns me—and many people—very much.

Yes, there was a great gathering of a diverse group of people on Sunday night. Perhaps—together—we helped to build bridges. Even though there is growing division and animosity against “difference,” perhaps some friendly conversation and sharing a meal helped to build friendships. Perhaps.

God willing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Praying, Pursuing Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lord teach us to pray

Praying, Pursuing Peace (Psalm 34:11, 14)

A psalm of confusion, of gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise. This song of David’s features prominently in the “thanks, God!” section of the book of Psalms.

11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

This psalm was written remembering when David was in a really tight spot. Surrounded by enemy warriors, he feigned madness. Had spittle coming down his beard. Probably disheveled clothes and hair, too. Wild eyes, jerky motions. I can just see him in my imagination. (David must have been a fabulous actor.)

Cut to the end of the story: King Abimelech kicked David out of his walled city. David must have been greatly, greatly relieved.

At this time in David’s life, when he was on the run from King Saul, he did not have much opportunity to pursue peace. He probably wanted peace above all things! In verse 14, above, he mentions the craving for peace. His deep desire for peace. Pursue it! Run after it, full bore! Added to that, he advises his readers to depart from evil. (David must know human nature pretty well, with that kind of insight.)

What about me? Do I fear the Lord? Do I listen to God’s words and God’s people? Do I always flee evil? What about doing good? Am I in the habit of seeking—much less, pursuing peace? What about you? Can you answer these questions I just asked myself?

Good questions, God. Thanks for bringing me up close and personal with these serious questions. I still haven’t figured out all the answers, but I know that’s okay with You. As long as we are thinking about the answers, and striving to do the very best job we can. Thanks, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Looking for Peace, the Olympic Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 20, 2016

olympic-peace

Looking for Peace, the Olympic Way

As I finished up with the personal definitions of PEACE I receiving from the good people in the Englewood neighborhood, I couldn’t help but think of current events. Yes, the south side of the city of Chicago does have crime, and shooting, and even killing. Similar to parts of Rio do Janeiro, where the Summer Olympics are being held right now.

The history of the modern Olympic movement is something I learned about when I was in elementary school.) It must have been in the early grades, because my memories of this material go really far back.)  The Olympic movement is based on the vision of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. He promoted certain values. These values continue to inspire what is known as the Olympic tradition.

The Olympic values of de Coubertin—the ideals of respect, fair balance, pursuit of excellence, joy in effort, and balance between mind, body and will—these are all important. To be reached for by all Olympic participants.

Just as these values were (and are) all important for Olympic competitors, so is the goal of peace. De Coubertin wanted to “build a more peaceful world by educating the young in a spirit of understanding.”

The Olympic Games will end tomorrow. Another four years to contemplate these wonderful values and ideals.

Each four years, at each Olympic Games, those ideals and values are stressed again. Plus, those ideas and values match so closely with Jesus and His values and ideas. May we follow Jesus and the values and ideals that please God, not people. May we follow God’s will and God’s way. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: A Personal Relationship with God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 14, 2016

 

rest in God, dove

PEACE: A Personal Relationship with God

A friend and I traveled to the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago again on Wednesday. We participated—again—in the nightly dinner outreach hosted by the Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK). This was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the good people in the Englewood neighborhood and show them that friends outside of their community care, and are concerned. Friends want to help them strengthen relationships, and bring peace into their streets. Their neighborhood. Their community.

My friend Laura had her face-painting kit, again, and the children loved it. They lined up to have all different kinds of face art painted on their faces. I made myself useful helping out by the serving table, making sure the bottled water was ready to be served, taking care of trash and checking to see that the area around the street corner was neat and tidy.

Yet, I remembered back two weeks, when Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church stopped by that same corner after dinner was cleaned up. The church folks set up a traveling outdoor worship service, just as they do each Wednesday night during the summer. As I finished my good-byes to Mama Knight and several other friends, I had the opportunity to talk with the Senior Pastor of that church, Rev. Walter Matthews.

A personable, earnest man, he was more than ready to share his view of peace. Pastor Matthews’ personal definition: “PEACE is having a personal relationship with God.”  

Just as the Mothers Against Senseless Killing wishes to strengthen relationships between friends in their Englewood neighborhood—on a horizontal plane, so Pastor Matthews wishes to strengthen relationships on a vertical plane—the personal relationship with God, our Redeemer and Friend. As I asked him to elaborate on his personal definition, he said, “I want everyone to have peace with God, so that we are able to have the peace of God.”

Amen! Pastor Matthews, thank you for those good words. May you and your church community have a nurturing, continuing relationship with your neighborhood. Dear God, please help Pleasant Green M.B. Church to continue to be faithful, spreading the Good News of a personal relationship with You. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: God’s Love Within

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 16, 2016

God brings peace

PEACE: God’s Love Within

This post includes a second definition of PEACE from Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church. But, before we get to that, I need to tell a bit about the Englewood neighborhood, and Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK). This excellent group has a dinner outreach called Take Them a Meal. Several people from Morton Grove traveled to the south side of Chicago to provide for the dinner, two weeks ago.

The weather was quite warm—and so was the fellowship and community! Heartwarming, too.

As the dinner outreach packed up, Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church started to set up on the same street corner. They have an outdoor worship service every Wednesday night during the summer. That church has a regular outreach to the Englewood community.

I greeted several of the church members, including the associate pastor, Frederick Schells. A kindly man, he gave me his view of peace right away. Pastor Frederick’s personal definition: “PEACE is the love of God within you.”

As I asked for him to elaborate, he said, “Peace has to be recognized from within.” He talked about the importance of God in each individual’s life, and how the presence of God is a foundation for peace.

The presence of God can be a comfort and encouragement for many, especially when going through difficult or challenging times. The Gospel of John lets us know that Jesus promised peace—His peace. Not as the world gives. Not fleeting or temporary, but permanent. Everlasting peace.

Praise God. Thank You for Your peace.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: No Chaos, No Confusion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 14, 2016

God the author of peace

PEACE: No Chaos, No Confusion

Presenting another in the series of definitions of PEACE.

I was in the Englewood neighborhood some days ago, serving dinner on the south side of Chicago. A mothers’ group called Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK) offers a free meal outreach called Give Them a Meal.

The dinner outreach was packing up, and a local church was getting ready to set up on the same corner. Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church has an outdoor worship service every Wednesday night during the summer. Complete with sound system and moveable pulpit, that church has a regular weekly outreach to their community.

I struck up a conversation with one of the congregation members. Even though she was among those preparing to transform the street corner into the setting for a worship service, she still has time to give me her view on peace.

Darlene’s personal definition: “PEACE is knowing that you can wake up on a daily basis and know that there is no chaos and no confusion.”

I was struck by Darlene’s definition. No chaos, and no confusion. What she was describing—in reverse—is not only the absence of peace, it is the opposite of peace, in a fundamental sense. When a situation is chaotic and confusing, or when a person’s life is in chaos and confusion, there is no peace. At all.

It also made me think of the concept of waking up in a peaceful, serene place. A placid, safe setting. How many times does Darlene—and others in her community—wake up to the sounds of strife, or arguments, or gunfire in the streets? Truly, something to yearn for, to pray for.

Dear Lord, thank You for Darlene’s definition. I pray for her and for the congregation at Pleasant Green M.B. Church. Help that group of believers in God be a witness for Your peace, Your reconciliation and love, in the Englewood community. In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: Community, Family Dinner

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, August 12, 2016

peace sign stones

PEACE: Community, Family Dinner

This post includes another in the series of definitions of PEACE. But, before we get to that, I need to give a little background. Several people from Morton Grove travelled down to Chicago a week and a half ago to participate in a dinner outreach called Give Them a Meal. Run by Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK), this is a generous act. An opportunity to be kind, to anyone who comes to the table.

When I was helping at the dinner, I asked one of the Mothers Against Senseless Killing for her personal definition of PEACE. Tamar’s personal definition: “Peace is family dinner—dinner with your community. Fellowship.”

Tamar is a straight-forward, no-nonsense person, instrumental in the outreach Give Them a Meal. When I asked her to elaborate on her personal definition, she was clear. Almost forceful in her enthusiasm. “This is it. People eat dinner together, get to know each other. This is what it’s all about.”

She wants to bring the neighborhood together, and provide an opportunity for community and fellowship. Table fellowship, where individuals can become friends.

This can be a powerful, life-changing act, breaking bread and sharing a part of themselves, a part of their very lives. Yet, such a simple act of friendship, too.

Thank God for this meal outreach. Bless all those who share in the meal, either daily or on an occasional basis. Bless those who faithfully serve, donate, and pray for this outreach. Dear God, we pray not only for the Englewood neighborhood, but also for the whole city of Chicago. For all of the suburbs, too. Bring PEACE to these many neighborhoods. And, stop the senseless killing, we pray. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: Pursue Happiness, Flee Negativity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 10, 2016

happiness, grateful, peaceful

PEACE: Pursue Happiness, Flee Negativity

Can you consider another personal definition of PEACE?

But, before we get to that, I need to give a little background. Several people from Morton Grove travelled down to Chicago on Wednesday to participate in a dinner outreach called Give Them a Meal. Run by Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK), what a great opportunity to give back what God shows to us: love and grace.

While there, I looked for another few definitions of PEACE. Here is Damani’s personal definition: “PEACE is when you can pursue happiness and not have to worry about negativity.”

He went on to say, “If you are pursuing happiness, you are not even thinking about negativity. Kids can be at peace, because they don’t have worries like adults do. Yes, innocence. Kids don’t have all that adult responsibility and worry.”

Just imagine. Being as carefree as a kid, and pursuing happiness. Such a heartfelt way of defining peace. Sadly, many people are burdened with a double portion of responsibility and worry. Fear, anxiety, depression, even anger. Yet, God can help us to pursue happiness. As I say, #PursuePEACE. God, may it be so.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er