Pastor Mark wrote this early one morning in response to the rise in anxiety many are feeling:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” We need your peace. And we know you don’t give it the same way the world gives it. Your peace won’t come through politics or parties or the people or the press or by power or persuasion or the purse – but through promise – through Jesus! Peace comes when we trust in you.
The tension in our country is palpable. We feel the kettle boiling and are helpless to jump out, many of us becoming willing participants in the strategies and values of Babylon as we pursue power and leverage over one another, demonizing our neighbor, battling against flesh and blood, crying for vengeance and violence against those with whom we disagree, rejecting the refugee, advocating for means and ends which violate the sanctity of life, destroying personhood in pursuit of feelings and self. Forgive our blood lust, our insatiable desire to consume what consumes us, and our love of competing gods. Cleanse us from within of those appetites which compete with Christ, and restore to us the joy of being Yours in this world.
The tension is spilling over into our homes and our families, in our workplaces and other spaces. We feel the anxiety and fear caused by health concerns, finances, relationship struggles, incivility, hatred, and security. But we are also inviting the anxiety and fear all around us into our homes as we consume vast quantities of social media and 24-hour news. We eat and eat and eat and complain that our stomachs are sour. Help our homes and our church to be a safe place where the Bread of Life is craved and consumed. Show us how to be picky eaters and discerning consumers so our homes and families do not fall victim to anxiety and fear. Help us to create those spaces in our lives for a conscious uncoupling from what is consuming our world. Help our homes to be a sanctuary, a place of rest.
We are busier than ever. So much is demanded of our time and our finance. So many things are advocating for our allegiance and loyalty. Six days isn’t enough. The created world wants more, so it takes seven. But the seventh belongs to you – a day to rest, renew, recharge, refocus – and redeem what has been taken out of us in the previous six. Help us to rediscover Sabbath so that we can be filled, not just emptied; replenished, not just exhausted; restored, not just worn out; redeemed, not just consumed. Help us to make room in our lives for those life-giving elements of worship, prayer, community, Bible study, and rest. We can only give out so much; we need to make space in our lives to receive what you give.
We hand over our anxiety, our fears, our worries, and our tensions to you. We look to Jesus who gives us life and showed us the way to life. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”