Sunday Services at 10 a.m.
Welcome to Rye Congregational Church
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
In the wake of yet another terrible act of terrorism, and as we approach the 240th anniversary of the founding of our nation, many thoughts and concerns fill my mind and heart. For such a beautiful time filled with so many gifts and so much promise, I am grateful to God. For the deep troubles that threaten and divide us, I pray to God for help and healing — healing for our nation and for all humanity. We have been given many wonderful gifts and they come with responsibility to God and one another.
Sad to acknowledge, there is something about us, not the best part of us, that loves a fight. Whether in the schoolyard at recess, or a pitched battle on a field of athletic competition, we love a good fight. Also sad to relate, there is something about us, not all of us and not the best part of any of us, that even likes it when people get hurt. It bothers me to say it, but I cannot otherwise explain the popularity of circus high wire acts, of high speed motorized car and boat racing, and certain contact sports, where I’ve experienced my own share of the give and take in all of this.
Into such a world, filled with so much beauty and promise, yet stained by our fallen nature’s love for a good fight (awkward expression, isn’t it?) — into such a world God has placed us and has issued to us a high calling: to be peacemakers. To come upon conflict and not enjoy the spectacle of it, is our high calling. To not simply choose sides when other options exist (and they often do), is our high calling. To be part of whatever it is that communicates the love of God in challenging circumstances, is our high calling. To respond to difficulty and misfortune with a calm determination to seek the best outcome for all concerned, is our high calling. To do all this while relying upon God’s help and guidance is our high privilege as children of God. We are never alone when we try to serve God.
This has special implications for the Church, which is called to be a light of hope and encouragement in a sometimes darkened world. “Let your light shine,” Jesus said. May it therefore shine brightly in and from the Church, especially. It is only fitting, “For they shall be called the sons of God,” He reminds us. May it shine in our homes, in our community, in our nation and through the whole world. May our light cast a beam of promise and goodwill everywhere and may it dispel the darkness of ignorance, fear, discord, and strife. Until that Day when spears are reshaped into pruning shears, may our light shine — may it bring light and warmth … and healing.
Where might is needed, and I’m realistic enough to acknowledge that it sometimes is, may it be wielded with appropriate measure and justice, and seasoned with mercy wherever possible. At such times, let us we pray for our enemies, for Jesus so commanded us, with a true concern for their salvation and a hope that all will discover and embark upon of the path of love and mutual respect. For our own part, may we never fail to see and acknowledge the sacredness and value of every human life and mourn for every soul that has become lost to the love of God. May we also pray for our children — for that new generation which is even now learning from what they see in us and will soon inherit the benefit or disadvantage of our labors in this world. Most of all, may God keep us in His care, as we keep Him and one another in our hearts …
The Preacher in the Rye