The night sky is always an awe-inspiring sight to me.
One August, a group of us were backpacking Wind River on the western edge of the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. We let the campfire die down around midnight so we could watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. It was incredible watching several large meteors a minute streak through the night sky leaving their trails of light.
John Denver may have been watching that same meteor shower when he was inspired by the words "I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky; the shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby." These words became part of the lyrics for his song Rocky Mountain High.
I remember the morning I got up early and headed east out of Columbus, Ohio. I was trying to get away from the light pollution so I could see Halley’s Comet in the last minutes of twilight. A chill ran down my spine as the comet came into focus in my binoculars.
There was a time I was in northern Canada watching the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights.
When I was out at sea, the water was so calm that the millions of stars in the sky reflected in the water and obscured the horizon.
Put yourself in this picture. You are sitting around the campfire after a hot day of tending sheep. All of a sudden the angel of the Lord appears in the night sky. He announces the birth of the Prince of Peace. Then suddenly He is joined by the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:14).
What would you be feeling?
You don’t have to watch the nightly news very long before you realize that there is very little peace in our world.
A couple of weeks ago Elaine and saw the movie The Letters, about the life of Mother Theresa. There were two things that moved me during that movie:
The Life of a Humble Servant
Mother Theresa felt the call of God to work amongst the poor in India. Many discouraged her from pursuing her call. Yet God's call was stronger than even the advice of family and the church.
We know from the letters Mother Theresa wrote to her spiritual advisor that even while she was obeying God’s call she often felt abandoned by God. But Mother Theresa knew God had given her a task to complete and even though she felt that God had abandoned her as she continued to accomplish His work.
We might think that doing God’s work should result in always feeling close to God. But if we look at the life of Jesus we find that is not necessarily the case. Jesus getting ready to complete the work of redemption, the work He came from heaven to complete, He felt abandoned by the Father (Matthew 27:46).
The Prayer of a Humble Servant
When Mother Theresa was awarded the Nobel Peace prize her acceptance speech was a prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To lie loved as to love;
‘For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Many of you will recognize this as the prayer of Francis Assisi. Mother Theresa made it her prayer and the prayer for everyone sitting in the room to see her receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). We live in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christians. It is going to become more difficult to be a peacemaker in such a world, yet that is exactly what God expects of us.
Are you a peacemaker at home?
Are you a peacemaker among your family and friends?
Are you a peacemaker in your community?
Are you a peacemaker at school or at work?