“And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.” Lk 10:6
There is a congregation in Brooklyn, NY founded by Norwegian seafarers. They wanted to provide a place of peace for immigrants in a new country. As a result, the congregation has a rich history of producing servants sent out like lambs amongst the wolves. This mission led it to become a beacon of hope and peace for an entire neighborhood.
Then one day, the quiet family neighborhood was taken over by a drug culture. It increased the crime rate and forced the congregation to protect itself. They covered the windows with bars. A spiked fence and a steel gate was installed to keep people out. The wolves in the culture forced the place of peace to withdraw.
When the congregation withdrew, the neighborhood treated it like an abandoned building. At night, drug deals were made outside of the church office. In the morning, crack vials, used needles and broken bottles littered the sidewalk around the church. It revealed the abuse people were waging on themselves and the neighborhood. The withdrawal also meant fewer were leaving to engage the neighborhood, so even less returned to worship.
A decision was made to once again send workers out as lambs amongst wolves. Each morning the sidewalks were swept and all graffiti erased. The backyard was opened for children to play in. A summer day camp was added and the congregation was transformed. The more it engaged with their neighbors, the less it was defaced. It ushered in a dynamic period of life for the congregation.
I share this story all the time because it keeps getting repeated in my life. It brings to life the truth of Jesus’ words in Luke. Whenever you enter a place, let your peace descend upon it. If it is not received, let it return to you. The enduring value of this approach is, more often than not, the peace you offer will remain and transform. When your peace is not received, by letting it return to you, prevents your peace from being transformed into anger.
This lesson invites a series questions we are left to ponder. Do you offer peace to the places you enter? If not, what is causing you to withdraw it, and what impact is it having on the neighborhood of your soul? How are you receiving the peace Christ offers? Let Christ’s peace in, share it and watch the wolves of hatred run away.
Click to read; Luke 10: 1-20
- Do you offer peace to the places you enter?
- What most prevents you from offering peace?
- What impact does not offering peace have on your soul?
- How are you receiving the peace Christ offers?
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