Inside the Tent
Jan Hill of New Brighton, MN, USA
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. -Isaiah 54:10
We have a screen tent we take to reunion. We’ve done it for years. The custom is that, after the day’s activities are over, we turn on the lights in the screen tent, unfold the lawn chairs, put the snacks on the table, and people just come. Whoever comes by gets invited in, and we squeeze together to make more room, sitting elbow to elbow and knee to knee.
At these late-night gatherings, we talk over the day’s happenings, tell funny stories, laugh, and share snacks. The darkness all around on the outside and the circle of light on the inside seem to draw us closer. Sometimes we begin to talk about serious things, like our hopes and dreams, our questions, our experiences, and our faith.
People express themselves very freely, though sometimes clumsily, and maybe not well thought through. Even though we are not a highly diverse group, not everyone agrees with each other. But we cut each other some slack, and we listen.
We seldom solve any of our theological questions in our late-night visits. But maybe we open some boxes and free people to be themselves without labels of “conservative” or “liberal” or “judgmental” or “radical” or “old-fashioned” or “progressive” or “rigid” or “weird.” Maybe we let God’s grace fall on everyone. Maybe we are emerging as new people in Jesus Christ, a fit place for the Spirit of God to dwell.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Breathing God’s Compassion
Light a candle and sit quietly, reflecting on the fire and light of God. Pay attention to your breathing and let it become calmer and deeper as you focus on God’s presence. Ask God to breathe in you. Image each breath carrying the light of God into your lungs, bloodstream, and every cell in your body until God’s Spirit fills you. Now imagine breathing out God’s compassion and grace each time you exhale. Pray to have the Spirit of Christ radiate from your life like the gentle flame of a candle.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.