Vicar's Bit June 2019

On the Peace… and Steve Godsell as Priest and President.

Vicar’s bit: Revd John Longuet-Higgins

 

Bishop Rachel has encouraged us to pray for the Holy Spirit and his peace.

“We thank you for the peace that the Holy Spirit brings: in these days of change protect us from anxiety and keep us confident of your love. We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit: where there is division or discord in communities, we ask you to bring reconciliation and peace.”

She encourages us to pray (and prayer in the praying is an act of peace) to God the reconciler. For God is our peace, and when God abides in us and abides in the stranger in our midst, we live together at peace.

 

Bishop Rachel’s prayer is rooted in Ephesians chapter 2, where Paul depicts us as a prodigal son or daughter who has come home, not to an angry father, but a forgiving peaceful father, merciful because of the forgiving death and resurrection of Christ.

 

v13-22 “But now in Christ you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh (through the cross) Christ has made Jew and Gentile one, he has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us…creating in himself one new humanity, in place of the two, thus making peace…he came to proclaim peace to those who were far off and to those who were near, both have access in one Spirit to the Father…you are being built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God”.

 

As Steve Godsell becomes our priest, every time Steve asks us to stand for the Peace, we live out with Steve, and before God, the words of Ephesians chapter 2. The passage proclaims the Gospel truth that God’s peace abides with and in us. The shaking of hands across the congregation symbolically says, “God’s peace abides with us, and I welcome you here in church, and every stranger too I welcome here. We share God’s hospitality to us. Welcome; abide with and in the God of peace”.

 

In the Eucharistic pattern of worship, the sharing of the Peace leads into the fellowship of table; our joyful and peaceful fellowship with God. Here, at table fellowship, we experience all that the risen Lord says to his friends, “my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you”.

 

Steve Godsell is soon to be our President at the table. As Steve presides, he re-enacts the self-offering actions of Christ. Christ, who on the Passover night, shares his body and blood as a sign that the wall of hostility between us and God is broken. Humankind and God at table are sat down. The power of sin and death is broken. Here, Steve our priest recalls for us the gift of forgiveness in Christ’s broken body. Here at the table is God’s kingdom, God’s reign of peace.

 

So, three things to reflect on as you hear Steve give the Eucharistic invitation to abide in the peace of Christ. “Christ is our peace…”

  • Leave behind all hostility to others as you prepare for Communion.

  • Pray for peace and healing; pray for the Holy Spirit to work his peace in the lives of the anxious and the disgruntled.

  • And go from church in peace, to be a peacemaker, prayerfully full of the Holy Spirit; go to the places, as Bishop Rachel’s prayer puts it, “where there is division and discord in communities”.

 

What a challenge!



 


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Vicar's Bit March 2019
Vicar's Bit March 2019

Vicar's Bit May 2019
Vicar's Bit May 2019