Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. In Community of Christ, we say a Prayer for Peace each day at our Temple in Independence, MO. Special prayers are offered for countries across the world or for special situations and awareness. Today we will offer a Prayer for Peace using the prayer offered in the Worship Resources and written by Yvonne Donald. But as we offer this prayer, I challenge you to let the thoughts go deeper and personalize the prayer from you, remembering we are each called to be an instrument of peace. As we begin, take a deep breath and center your thoughts on peace for you, for me, for our communities and for our world.
O God, may we remember your first gift to us is life itself. When we understand this truth it becomes easy to see beauty and worth in others who have been blessed with this same gift. We ask that your Spirit fill us, melt us, mold us, and use us. May we hear many times the affirmation from others, “I believe what you say because I know who you are!” I pray for peace on Earth and that I will be an instrument of that peace. (Who has blessed you, making you feel worthy and blessed? How can you help others feel worthy? Pray for insight and guidance.)
When we truly experience your grace, we want to share our ministries for the sake of others. Help us to pay attention to the moment and to see people for who they truly are. I pray for peace on Earth, and that I will be an instrument of that peace. (What ministries were you able to offer this past week? How can you minister to those whom you work with, or as you perform your daily tasks (driving to work, providing meals, calling friends, etc.)? Make a list of the small things you can do and asking God to help bring those to mind as you go through your day.)
We pray for your guidance as we immerse ourselves in the life of our larger community. May we show that blessings of tolerance, reconciliation, and unity in diversity are possible because of the power of pure love. May we be known as a people of humility—extending ourselves in service to others regardless of race, gender, religion, or social status. (Thank God for those who have shown examples of tolerance, reconciliation, and unity of diversity around you? Pray that you might be such a person.)
We need your guidance to become more fully a blessed community so we may be more effectively a blessing to our extended community. Help us to witness the power of together! Let there be peace on Earth, and let it include all the children of God. (Identify those opportunities where you can be part of your community in reaching out in peace. Pray for guidance for groups involved in peaceful resolution. Speak peace. Be peace. Peace is not always the presence of quiet. Sometimes it must be loud.)
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. What do you think of when you hear “Blessings of Community”? This is one of Community of Christ’s Enduring Principles by which we strive to live. I’ve been face to face with differences that together make the world, and I find myself calling to mind “Blessings of Community”. What does Blessings of Community mean to you?
There are many aspects to consider as part of blessings of community. My first response today would be that it expresses the peaceful existence within our community that benefits from the combined gifts we bring. Community of Christ offers this statement, “We value our connections and share a strong sense of trust in and belonging with one another—even if we never have met.” I value this connection and the sense of community it brings. However, I also recognize that we are all so different and it is in those differences where we bring our together the blessings of community.
When, for you, have the blessings of community felt like the workings of cogs in a machine, well-oiled and working in synchronization with each other? For many years our church community in Washington, DC, has invested our collective effort to organize a yard sale where the proceeds go to a local organization that provides services and housing for the homeless. It requires many hands to sort through the items, price them, organize a support staff, and add a bake sale and luncheon. The last yard sale was pre-COVID and I can remember pausing as we prepared for the sale to notice our multiple “cogs” (aka, “people”) working together to put together this event. Even more importantly, there was a moment during the yard sale where I also observed the people who were milling around looking at the merchandise. I loved seeing us reach out to the community. People came through the doors of the church and met us, talked with us, and had an opportunity to work with us to help serve the homeless. As we are told in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Together as a community, there is so much we can accomplish. And while we are working as a community, we are creating relationships with one another. We are blessings of community.
I challenge all of us to stop a moment and look around and see the blessings of community each day. We belong to one another – even if we never have met.
Dear God, We come in gratitude for the many people in our lives, those we know well and those whom we have never met. Help us to see how much you love each and every person. Help us acknowledge the intrinsic value of those who bring different gifts and talents to our world. May we pursue a life that sees beyond the boundaries that separate us, and sees beyond the cultures and economics that make up the differences in the way we live. May we have open hearts and open arms so we may be part of the blessings of community. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.