Susan Oxley of Renton, WA, USA
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” -Isaiah 52:7
When a dear friend or family member dies, I always think about how he or she has touched my life. Many times I wished I had shared those memories with those persons while they were still alive.
In the 1980s, I had created a wilderness of doubt and theological questioning. With the help of my husband and a good friend, I was able to re-establish my faith on a new basis and renew my relationship with God. But guilt over my wilderness of doubt continued to haunt me. At a reunion, a dear evangelist stood and assured me of God’s love and forgiveness. It was a powerful, transforming moment. This past year, I was told that this evangelist had died.
With that memory warming my heart I traveled to the memorial service. Imagine my surprise when the evangelist himself, now in his nineties, walked in the door to attend the memorial of his good friend! I had been given the wrong name of the deceased!
I honored the church member who died and then sought out the evangelist during the reception. I reminded him of his ministry to me so long ago.
“I remember,” he said, with tears in his eyes. We hugged and I assured him that he had made a difference in my life, then and now. It was wonderful to say to him in person all the things I had rehearsed when I thought he had died.
Now I am trying to share with my family and friends how much they have impacted my life while they are alive.
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
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.