Tag Archives: Peace of Christ

Acknowledging Jesus

IMG_3209for Sunday, June 22, 2014
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2nd Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 7
Year A
lectionary focus: Matthew 10:24-39
note: Over the years, my family has moved three times so we have had three opportunities to ‘shop’ for a new church. We boiled the process down to judging churches by the number of people who greeted us. I keep this in mind each Sunday, trying to greet each visitor. Even though, in our small church where we say ‘Visit us twice and we’ll put you on a committee,’ it can still be difficult to put myself out there.

Welcome!

Last summer I went on vacation to another city with my friend Susan. While we were there we went to church. We had never been to this church; we just saw it near our hotel; looked it up online to find out the worship time; and we went. It was a very nice service; the choir was excellent; and the sermon was good. But no one spoke to us. The usher did smile and give us a bulletin. But after the service, not a single person welcomed us or greeted us or anything! Susan even stopped on the church steps to take a picture and still no one spoke to us! We were quite amazed. There were probably 150 people at the service. We wondered what was wrong. We wondered if maybe we had become invisible!

In our Bible story today from the Book of Matthew, Jesus is instructing the disciples as they prepare to go preach. Jesus tells them that they must acknowledge Him in the world…just as He will acknowledge them before God. People have long wondered how we are to acknowledge Jesus in the world. When we acknowledge something, we say that thing is true…but when we acknowledge someone, we greet them. Since Jesus is a someone, He is reminding us to greet Him in the world, just as He will greet us before God. To greet Jesus, we must see and recognize Him…and I know that each of you knows where we find Jesus. Jesus is in our hearts. So to acknowledge Jesus in the world is to greet HIm in our own heart and in the hearts of each other.

During church, we take a moment to share the Peace of Christ with those around us…sometimes I feel shy speaking to people I don’t know. And after church, there are so many people and I want to get to the doughnuts and maybe those people visiting our church were sitting so far from me. But if we don’t acknowledge Jesus in the people here at church, well then, it will be even harder to do that with the people out in the world!

Now you might think that you are too young to be greeters, that you don’t have to do that, but you are certainly smart enough to see and acknowledge and greet Jesus in other people and you are children of God. I challenge you each Sunday to find at least three people…regular members or someone you’ve not met before…and greet them here at church. Just walk up the them and say, “Hey, Good to see you today.”

And on your way home, you can check with everyone in your family to see how many people they greeted. Then we each will improve the way we acknowledge Jesus in the church…and that will make us better at acknowledging Jesus in the whole world. By greeting Jesus in others, we recognize others and Jesus and ourselves as visible.

Let’s practice. Repeat after me: Good to see you today! (Good to see you today!)

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for acknowledging us.
Help us
to acknowledge You.
Help us
to greet You
in the hearts of our old friends,
our new friends,
ourselves.
It is always good
to see You
in those around us.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Be Surprised!

17th Sunday after Pentecost
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 23
for Sunday, October 9, 2011
lectionary focus: Philippians 4:1-7-9

One day I asked my friend Zachary what his favorite part of the church service was. He said that his favorite part was the surprise. “What surprise?” I asked him. “You know,” he said, “where we remind each other to Be Surprised!”  ??  Oh! Zachary was talking about the part of the service where we greet each other with the words “The Peace of Christ be with you.” When people said “Peace of Christ,” Zach heard “Be surprised.”

I think Zachary is right. The word surprise can mean something unexpected, but it can also mean to feel wonder or amazement. And The Peace of Christ is amazing! We should be surprised! We should be amazed! In our Bible story today, we are told not to worry, but to be gentle, to hope, to pray, and to rejoice; and in doing these good things, the Peace of Christ will fill our hearts. And when we are filled with the Peace of Christ, we feel WOW! And we want our family and friends to feel WOW! That is why today and every day, we should tell each other to be amazed by God’s astounding love that He has for each of us. We should tell each other to Be surprised! Therefore, repeat after me: The Peace of Christ be with you! (The children repeat.) Be surprised! (The children repeat.)

Now will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for the Peace of Christ.
Help me
to be surprised.
Amen

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.