Dear Christ Church,
While I have you, two quick reminders! This Sunday night we have our Annual Parish Meeting online at 7:30pm (you don’t want to miss it!), and go here to see how the Austin Marathon affects your route to church this Sunday.
Every Sunday “shalom” gets the last word. The service concludes with the priest proclaiming peace over you; “May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
We need it now more than ever, an era that is certainly the most anxious age I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Our Bishop, Todd Hunter, writes “Because of the daily barrage of negative, overwhelming, and anxiety-inducing news and social media at this turbulent time, people are desperate for peace and goodwill. The problems and challenges of the world (race, politics, economics) far outstrip our moral, ethical, and relational capabilities to respond.” To the social anxieties we might add our own relational difficulties, physical and mental health, vocational and financial uncertainties. Indeed, may the peace of God keep our hearts and minds in his love!
To help us with this, I have selected Bishop Todd’s book Deep Peace to be our Lenten book of the year. Bishop Todd describes peace as a sense of “completeness, soundness, wholeness, contentment and a prevailing sense of welfare, an interior marked by quiet as opposed to noisy conflict.” How is that possible? It comes from living in the confidence that our lives are always in the care of another. Each moment, the Lord is our Shepherd.
More than anyone I know, Bishop Todd has the credibility to write this book. As a friend and colleague, and as a priest serving under his leadership, I have watched him walk the talk. Through a lifetime of ministry, and especially as a bishop (not to mention the trials common to us all), he has carried a heavy weight of responsibility, led through many tensions, and even endured hostility from others. Despite all this, I always have the sense in his presence that he is yielding himself to the peace of God that comes only from a confidence that his life is in the care of another, of our Shepherd.
We will soon have a limited number of copies available on Sundays for a $10 suggested donation, or you can grab the book at your favorite online outlet. I encourage us all to read it this Lent, that we might grow as a community of God’s shalom.