By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, MI, USA
The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. —Isaiah 32:17–18 NRSV
It’s not about us! Twice in the last week I have heard these words. Once in a baccalaureate address to seminarians and again in an article by our church theologian. This runs contrary to society’s messages, “You’re worth it,” “It’s all about me,” and “I deserve it.” Our culture urges us to live life in the me mode!
Our little granddaughter just turned one year old in May. For an entire year, her life has been about “me.” Nonverbal (although sometimes vocal) messages direct her mom and dad to “Feed me,” “Change me,” “Cuddle me,” or “Put me to sleep.” First time grandparents ooh and aah over changes that occur in rapid succession from her first toothless smile, to teeth, to crawling, and speaking her first “da-da.” And yet, as Cadence becomes mobile she finds there are “no’s” in life. Let the testing begin!
As children grow in a healthy environment, they learn the “no’s” are for their protection. Others infringe on their little world when they must share their toys or not pull the doggie’s tail. Their world expands from me to us and eventually to them.
So often in our Christian walk, we forget that it is not all about us. It’s about the One who created us, called us, and redeemed us.
It’s about the Holy One who is beyond us, yet longs to be in covenant relationship with us. It’s God’s love embodied in Jesus Christ who IS the good news! And while the good news of Jesus Christ exists, it is not only for us!
Jesus embodied the gospel, but he was not full of himself. His emphasis was always on others—the bruised, the hurting, the wounded, the oppressed, the outcast. The good news of Jesus Christ is for everyone, those outside the church walls, beyond the city limits, in other countries. Christ challenges us to grow from the self-centeredness of babyhood to mature adults who have accepted the challenge to work side by side with Christ in healing the world.
Just as grandma and grandpa love to hold our precious little granddaughter and protect her from the misfortunes of the world, God also longs to encompass humankind. To that end, God sent Christ and Christ sent the Holy Spirit to live in us so we, as servants, might enfold them in arms of caring, hope, and love. To that end, God calls us to “get over ourselves” and live selflessly for others, as Christ lives for us.
Prayer for Peace
God of me, us, and them, help us move beyond our self-protecting habits so we may offer ourselves as servants. Help us break open our circles and put others at the center, so we may build peace.
Spiritual Practice: The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today, God, I will get over myself and focus on them.