L'arche International

Peace Be in Your Hands

Peace Be in Your Hands

It’s not easy… I think of the people I’ve known, who care for others who are fragile. Parents of newborns and babies and toddlers, playing with their children, holding them, feeding them… it’s beautiful to watch, a delight. But we don’t see how hard it is in the middle of the night, when they’re exhausted, when that adorable baby has colic, is screaming with ear infections, won’t sleep. How much harder peace is when the demands never end… 

I think of older adults caring for parents or husbands or wives, fragile bodies requiring round-the-clock care. The wife with dementia who doesn’t know day from night, up at all hours, wandering… The husband whose disease makes him violent, not like he was in his right mind, but frightening… The parent, weakened from pneumonia, from infections, who can no longer get up on her own but keeps on trying, and falls… How much harder to have peace in your hands when the care is so draining, so draining. 

Where does peace come from then? 

It comes from Jesus… from his own hands, washing us clean… from his own love, washing our feet… from his own tenderness, and humility, washing away our impatience, our tension, our anger, our fear… 

Opening Up: Welcoming a Stranger (Not Taking on a Project)

Opening Up: Welcoming a Stranger (Not Taking on a Project)

But in God’s kingdom, there’s no measuring ourselves against each other. What’s the point? “In the kingdom,” Craddock says, “God is the host, and who can repay God?” If we are always guests, who are we to make any claims, set any conditions, expect any return? 

And as for poor people, or lame or crippled or blind people, as Fred Craddock points out, Jesus is saying more than we may want to hear. “Care of the poor and the disabled” is core to both the Jewish and Christian traditions. But Jesus is not calling on Christians to provide for the needs of the poor and the disabled; he says to invite them to dinner…. 

The word translated ‘hospitality’ means, literally, ‘love of a stranger.’…  

Nor does the text speak of sending food to anyone; rather, the host and the guest sit at table together. The clear sign of acceptance, of recognizing others as one’s equals, of cementing fellowship, is breaking bread together. In the Christian community no one is a ‘project.’

In the Christian community, no one is a project.