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Pursue peace

Maybe like me you’ve been watching a lot of social media recently. Earlier today I was watching an interview given by the captain of a submarine on how to survive when you can’t get out. One of the things he said was really important was having a routine and sticking to it.

One of the things that is keeping me going at the moment is saying what the Church of England calls the morning and evening office. It’s nothing to do with an office- it’s the prayers set for morning and evening, and different readings are given each day- from the book of Psalms and the Old and New testament.
That rhythm, that routine, I find, is very helpful to me. It sets the shape of my day.
I know that thousands of others are praying the same prayers, and meditating on the same scriptures that I am, and that sense of shared prayer and the structure of a routine is something I find very helpful.
As Christians we pray together even though we are scattered. It enables me to feel peaceful and calm- or at least more peaceful and more calm than I would otherwise!

You can find the app- if you’re interested- by looking for Church of England Daily prayer-it’s a little pale blue icon.

One of the other things this captain said was- manage conflict and when you see it coming, do everything you can to de-escalate it. In this morning’s reading from the letter to the Hebrews, we read this
“Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no-one will see the Lord”

The Greek word which is used for “pursue” means exactly that- chase it, go after it, hunt it down. I am hearing a lot of people at the moment say that they realise what really matters- which people and relationships. And for some, that has meant making peace with people where unresolved friction has caused a previously warm relationship to go cold. We often talk of Jesus as the Prince of peace, and he says “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid” (John 14.27).

Whether we have issues of conflict at home, or in our communities or further afield, as followers of Jesus, now is the time to be pursuing peace. We are learning- perhaps the hard way- that we all need one another, we are all connected to one another. Peace with other people is about each recognising the worth and value of the other, recognising that the other person is made in God’s image. Seeing them with God’s eyes of mercy. Pursue peace…

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