I’ve gotten rather a lot of neglected college work done tonight.
But amongst many little spaces of calm which have kept me going, tonight as I hold a recent gift from a dear friend, a Holding Cross, I remember one of my favourite prayers, which I so often say and sing:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
I often picture St Francis of Assisi in my mind, not just because the prayer is so often called ‘the prayer of St Francis’, but because he was a man of such peace, and I remember so frequently the lovely Brother Sun, Sister Moon, discovered by reference in a sermon on a quiet Wednesday morning, and on my bedside table ever since.
I used to become rather lost without my Lectionary, as it was often a delight to come back to the house after sermons on Sunday mornings, or the occasional Wednesday, and dip into some further Biblical reading which it told me was related to the ones read out that morning. But as the new church year has arrived I haven’t got the new one! A pain in one sense yes, but nevertheless it has in fact gotten me reading more widely on my own without as much guidance, diving deeper into the various books to find verses which jump out, and that don’t always initially jump, to find deeper meaning in reflection or meditation.
As I reflect on St Francis of Assisi, I dip into Hosea to find further inspiration, and then I remember that the preacher on that particular Wednesday morning of August was Fr Simon Marsh, and that he had in fact shared with us a verse from Hosea…
I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.
I remember as he shared more beautiful verses that he said relationship with God is like an intimate relationship, a love which is overpowering. And he was indeed right. It’s been months since that August day, but I still remember it vividly. Relationship with God does in deed carry such great overpowering compassion and love. And as dear St Francis spoke and acted, I hope that we too in every day can come that one step closer to being instruments of peace, sowing love, forgiving, and sharing with one another hope, light and joy in every moment of life. What an amazing vision St Francis reminded us of. Yes reminded; we only have to delve into a single verse of the Gospels to capture Jesus’ great social vision for this world, the Good News. For all these blessings in life, and for those we perhaps do not recognize or that we forget, I praise God. And I hope as St Francis so clearly was, that I can be an instrument of peace for God, and for people. And you can be too.
Have a happy evening. May I suggest a visit to Fr Simon Marsh’s Lovable, Excellent, Admirable post this evening which shares a delightfully similar theme of vision and peace…