What is our role in God's mission in the world?. There is so much to do in the world, so much hatred, injury, discord, doubt, despair, darkness and sadness. We pray, of course, that God will give peace through all these things, that God will lift us up even when we are brought low. We pray that God will give us the strength to step into the troubles of life and be a source of hope and peace for those who are in the midst of it. I know all too well how hard it is to step into these situations. I also know how hard it is to stay there. In pastoral ministry, we are urged to be a "ministry of presence," among those who are suffering - to try to stay there, to stick it out, with people in the midst of trouble. I find that I pray continuously in these situations, I "pray without ceasing," as St. Paul admonishes us to do. I pray that I might be a small cog in the healing apparatus of God, I pray that I might be some source of peace, even though I sometimes wonder just how effective "presence" is for people who suffer.
The hope is that we would be instruments of God's peace. The hope is embedded in the Prayer attributed to St. Francis. That God's mission is getting worked out in the world, and we have some role as instruments in the great symphony of healing and salvation. I pray that I can be, I pray that the church - the people - can step into these places of suffering and pain, and be a source of healing, salvation, liberation, and reconciliation. "For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
A Prayer attributed to St. Francis
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.