O day of peace that dimly shines
through all our hopes and prayers and dreams,
guide us to justice, truth, and love,
delivered from our selfish schemes.
May the swords of hate fall from our hands,
our hearts from envy find release,
till by God’s grace our warring world
shall see Christ’s promised reign of peace.
Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb,
nor shall the fierce devour the small;
as beasts and cattle calmly graze,
a little child shall lead them all.
Then enemies shall learn to love,
all creatures find their true accord;
the hope of peace shall be fulfilled,
for all the earth shall know the Lord.
Carl P. Daw, Jr.
The long-awaited snow fell through the night on Saturday. It was a given: whenever we schedule our Service of Lessons and Carols we can count on a big snow dump to challenge worship attendance. It did.
But there we were on Sunday morning, hearty Minnesotans assembled to hear ancient words of promise paired with music meant to open hearts to wonder.
The service held many moments of shimmer, but two took me over. The first was after hearing the words from Isaiah about God’s vision for a world in which war was no more. We heard the words of scripture, and then we sang the words to the hymn printed above. All hearts present leaned into the prayer for a world released from the madness of war: O Day of Peace, give us the courage to let the swords of hate fall from our hands.
The second soul gasp came when one of our younger members read the scripture from Luke telling of the birth of the Prince of Peace. To hear those words spoken from the pulpit by a young voice brought home the simple and radical event meant to change the world.
It also brought to mind a tradition in our family. When we lived in Duluth, we hosted a yearly Christmas party with more people than our house could hold in attendance. Together we ate and savored and shared the gift of singing Christmas Carols and then one of our children would read the story from Luke about how it was there were shepherds abiding in the fields, watching their flocks by night.
Somehow the pairing of the young voice with the resonance of the ancient song of hope cracked open the harried hearts present and we were together as one, kneeling at the manger in wonder.
And so it was yesterday at Richfield United Methodist Church. And so it is every day when we pause long enough to set down our overwrought sense of the “musts” of life and inhabit instead the story that gives us life and meaning.
The angels sing yet. Peace is God’s longing.
We are not alone as we seek to live justice, truth, and love.
On reading the Pastor’s Pen column this morning, the words “Tender shepherd” caught my eye. I immediately thought of the musical “Peter Pan”, before reading further. It amazed me to know that this was one of Pastor Elizabeth’s favorite musicals. For my family and I have revered it too. We have sung songs from it on our player piano for years. I loved her references to the “dangerously enticing” Neverland, because it certainly elicits our sense of adventure.
I express my sympathy to Elizabeth and husband Cooper for the loss of their beloved dog who was surely shepherded well in their loving home. May Zoe be digging bones in the happiest part of Neverland, where she too will never grow old!