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April 30, 2016


I had forgotten how much I enjoyed watching Red Winged Blackbirds when I lived in Minnesota. When they fly, the flash of the red, orange, and yellow catch your eye. We were visiting Minneapolis and a very dear friend of mine from University when we took a walk in one of the many green spaces in Minneapolis. This particular spot was in Loring Park where we enjoyed seeing God’s creatures at play.


Another beautiful creature with stunning colors is the male Wood Duck.


This little fellow was doing his level best to steal food from a woman who was feeding the birds from her hands. Sadly I didn’t get a picture of that, but when this little fellow tried to climb her leg to get some feed, it reminded me of the Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens! I think the woman was having a genuine come to Jesus meeting and the squirrel nearly met Jesus personally courtesy of the bag she was swinging.


We met this little one while sitting on a bench across the Mississippi River from Downtown Minneapolis in Saint Anthony Falls. What an afternoon it was between catching up with a very dear friend and exploring the sights and sounds of my old stomping grounds from Seminary days! It was an afternoon and evening filled with peace for both Denise and me. That peace is what I feel when I read Psalm 67.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.” (Psalm 67)

As I sit in the United Lounge waiting for our flight to board for Colorado, I am doing my level best to ignore the 24-hour newscast with all of the politics on it. Sadly though, I cannot ignore the present reality that hatred, fear, and bigotry seem to be driving many in this country. Where is the peace in that? Where is the call to love your neighbor? Instead I hear build a wall to keep “them” (code for anyone who is different) out! I received threats to my physical well-being a year ago for daring to write publicly in support of an effort to have the county government remove a flag that invoked the KKK and White Supremacy from county property. Today I hear the same and worse spread by the purveyors of hate all across this nation. Love your neighbor? Only if they look like you… Only if they share your exact same views on all matters of faith and life.

It is hard to remember at times the beauty of Psalm 67… God’s saving power among ALL nations, not just the select few. That is a peace that I seek with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Despite the obstacles thrown in my path by those who hate, I still seek it.

In John 14:27, we read the following words of Christ: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” I do not give to you as the world gives to you… The peace I share is not for the privileged elite… it is for everyone! It was that sort of peace I experienced as I walked through Loring Park yesterday. It was that sort of peace I experienced as we visited with family and friends who have a variety of views and backgrounds, yet are still held together by the common bond of love.

It is that sort of peace that I find each time we gather around the Lord’s table to celebrate Communion. It is that sort of peace that gives me hope in the midst of bigotry, hatred, and despair. It is so because it is that peace which passes all understanding. It is that sort of peace which will keep our hearts in the way of Christ, who is the Prince of Peace.

Dear reader, in a time of hatred and fearmongering, will you join with me in living and presenting another way? Will you join with me at the table of fellowship and peace? Will you join with me in loving God and loving all neighbors? As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:31 – “ But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” Following that verse, Paul launches into that most famous of passages, 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter! Love is the more excellent way… we find it at the table… we find it at the cross… we find it in the love Christ showed for those whom the religious elite turned away.

Will you join me in a more excellent way?

  1. Cheryl Anne permalink

    Thank you Good Padre. I am happy to join my heart and hopes and loving intentions with yours. Lord, have mercy, and be our help. ❤

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