In recent days, violent acts have seemed to pervade my reality. I think of the Pakistani Governor who was killed and my friend who is currently living/serving among that population. I think of the two people that were killed at the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank and our friends who cross through those checkpoints every day as they serve the youth of the region. I think of the tragedy in Arizona. Finally, I think of my neighborhood that has endured two murders and one stabbing in the past week.
These incidents have the potential to further breed a culture of fear and anxiety that puts us in a posture of defense and removes us from the redemptive vision God has for humanity. Thankfully we have a hope. It is a hope rooted in the life of Jesus. He did not run from violence, instead he embedded himself right in the middle of it.
Lord, may your Spirit lead us away from fear and into your Shalom (peace, wholeness, salvation). A peace that not only physically slows violence, but a peace that pervades our being so we can be salt and light in the midst of such violence.
This makes me think of St. Patrick. He was the first (I believe!) missionary to extend past the Roman Empire and step into one of the most fierce, violent and fear driven people groups on the planet. He stepped forward in faith that the Jesus he chose to follow and share was one that called him to move into the places others weren’t willing to go. Here is a portion of one of his timely prayers:
- Be Christ this day my strong protector:
- Against poison and burning
- Against drowning and wounding,
- through reward wide and plenty . . .
- Christ beside me, Christ before me;
- Christ behind me, Christ within me;
- Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
- Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
- Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
- Christ in heart of all who know me,
- Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
- Christ in eye of all who see me,
- Christ in ear of all who hear me.