Last night I started this post of yesterday’s Gospel. Early this morning, I learned of the death of Mr Lipscomb, the founding pastor of the church I serve. How much more appropriate it is to post this Gospel lesson and accompanying thoughts now.
Gospel Lesson: John 14:23-29 (ESV)
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.”
The Collect for this Sunday is my favorite collect of the entire year:
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
K. Lee Scott has done a choral setting of this collect that is exquisite.
Yesterday’s sermon, since it centered on Jesus’ words about peace, included the Sim Shalom:
Create peace, goodness, blessing, grace, kindness, and compassion upon us and upon all of Your people Israel. Bless us, our Father, all of us as one, with the light of Your face, for with the light of Your face You gave to us, Adonai our God, the Torah of life and love of kindness, righteousness, blessing, compassion, life, and peace. And may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel at every time and at every hour with Your peace. Blessed are You, Lord, Who blesses His people Israel with peace.
Finally, a Celtic blessing, also focusing on peace:
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ, the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you.
The One who created all things, who creates the fruit of the vine and causes bread to come forth from the earth, can create peace, deep peace–shalom–within each of us and cause it to come forth even from the midst of chaos, sorrow, and pain.
Sim Shalom: “create peace. ” The Creator can do that.