Ryan Tittle of Sumiton, AL, USA
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. -2 Thessalonians 3:16
The elder’s eyes popped open with excitement that he would be offering a devotional by the lake on the campgrounds. The men’s retreat was something he looked forward to every year.
Wearing a pair of denim shorts and a t-shirt bearing the word “Shalom” in large letters, he opened the door and let the smells and sounds of nature wash over him. Twenty minutes from the nearest town, he seemed almost alone on the vast campgrounds.
Walking in silence to the dining hall, the elder realized he was experiencing peace. He could hear the sounds of chirping birds, scurrying chipmunks, and these words in his ears: May peace be with you. The elder flipped through the scriptures, realizing he had one shot to create this sense of peace and offer it in his devotional.
He saw men walking toward him. One of them was an evangelist from his congregation. He smiled at him and said, “Don’t you wish this peace right now could stay with us all the time?”
The evangelist hid a smile and said, “Oh, it’s always there. Do you ever listen hard enough for it?”
He knew he didn’t. But he knew he would spend the rest of the day taking mental snapshots of the peace shared by the men so he could reflect on it when the world got too insane.
The men gathered by the lake. The elder stood and said, “Peace be with you.” No one said anything in response, but the elder listened hard and heard, “And also with you.” There was no escaping whose voice it was.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
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.