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Peace and joy

December 31, 2018

On the cusp of the New Year, I’ve been reflecting on peace, having heard a talk at church on 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

The first time I stepped into St Aldates in the summer of 2017, I almost didn’t. I was stood outside listening to Lauryn Hill’s I gotta find peace of mind, wondering whether or not to venture into a church full of people when I was feeling pretty restless. What I found there was protected vulnerability, a place to be ourselves with God and each other, a healthy challenge to the pendulum swing of periphery and performance which can (but thankfully doesn’t have to) characterise church-going.

That first time I was drawn in, I sat down, moved to another seat, sat down again and looked up and saw The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt. I was reading a book by Henri Nouwen on that very painting at the time. Seeing that picture of homecoming was like coming home. And the talk was on peace (you can listen to the podcast here).

I love the progression in the song by Lauryn Hill from anguish to relief, from plea to praise, from ‘I gotta find peace of mind’ to ‘Oh what a merciful, merciful, merciful God/ Oh what a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful God’. And that declaration, ‘What a joy it is to be alive’. Yes, what a joy! Here’s to a blessed and peaceful 2019.

‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.’ (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

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