Daily Bread Jan. 4

Circle of Blessing
By Nancy Hyleton of Seattle, WA, USA

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. —Isaiah 2:4 NRSV

My son and I attended a church gathering in Eastern Oregon one weekend. At the last minute, several others who had planned to go with us could not make the seven-hour drive. It concerned me that we would not know many people there, but the Holy Spirit had been prompting me for several months to attend.

I did not know how much I needed to be at this gathering. I didn’t have many major life challenges, and we were in a good frame of mind as we traveled south on the interstate highway. When we arrived at the Bend Congregation, the gathering community embraced my son and me with joy and security.

From San Francisco to Washington, people gathered. Soon there developed ever-deepening trust and sharing. Together many spiritual and community-building practices blessed us.

One practice in particular, circles of blessing (see practice below), caused me to become acutely aware I had some significant unfinished business.  In the fourth circle of blessing, leaders directed us to pray a blessing on someone who had hurt us. A recent impasse with a co-worker, which I thought I had worked through, came flooding back forcefully as I prayed a blessing on her. I realized there was much healing left to do.

How often do we take for granted the blessings of community in Christ? How often am I too timid to share those joys and invite others to know them as well?

Prayer for Peace

God of shalom, even when we are satisfied with our peace, help us be aware of minor impasses that seem small. May we mend relationships that may be a source of hurt in others, and make our peace mutual and whole.

Spiritual Practice: Healing Wounds

Think of someone who has hurt you or with whom you have conflict. Spend as much time here as you can. Be aware of feeling openness and release that accompany this prayer of blessing on those by whom you feel wounded. Imagine the blessing covering them or filling them.

May they be blessed with loving kindness.
May they be blessed with health.
May they be blessed with true happiness.
May they be blessed with peace.

Peace Covenant

Today, God, I will embody shalom at home, at work, and in the community.

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