Blog from Kristy Engel….

“Before you speak of peace,
you must first have it
in your heart…

We have been called
to heal wounds,
to unite what
has fallen apart, and to bring home
any who have lost
their way.”

-Francis

The above quote is from the beginning of a new book I just started, The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder, by Richard Rohr. Take a minute to read it over again, slowly, and understand what it is saying. These were words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi as he spoke to his first friars in the late 12th or early 13th century.

The words still ring true for us today. We really must have peace in our own hearts before we seek to reflect or attempt to give that peace (through Christ) to others. Too often, we forget about the log in our own eye while trying to remove the splinter in another’s. (Luke 6:41-42, Jesus’ words)

The second part of the quote talks about the calling we each have on our lives if we call ourselves Christian. These weren’t simply Francis’ interpretation of scripture, these were the commands of Jesus Christ, Son of God. They weren’t meant to be brushed away or ignored because it might be difficult or uncomfortable. In fact, it probably WILL be uncomfortable for many people (if not all of us) to try to model our lives after Jesus and his actions. Yet we must.

Our role is not to divide but rather, unite.

To heal, not hurt.

To bring others in, not keep them out.

Look at those three lines again. How often, in the last decade or so, have we been a part of division? Or maybe you didn’t cause a division, but you certainly did nothing to build a bridge and bring people together. Have you made a decision to choose anything (politics, religion, lifestyle, language, societal status, etc.) over choosing how Jesus said we should live? 

How often have you hurt others or been a part of hurting others by NOT speaking up? See, for me, that simply doesn’t mesh with the life Jesus calls us to as Christians. We cannot say we are associated with a man who healed those around him (both physically and spiritually) when we make choices that promote, encourage, or maintain the hurt of others. Either choose Christ or choose to hurt…you can’t have both. 

And finally, Jesus was all about reconciliation. Reconciliation with God, first, and then with others. Not much reconciliation going on these days. Division continues to grow between groups of people, often because of decades of injustice. I cannot imagine Jesus being happy with the state of the world these days, especially in the way that we treat each other. 

We need to stop blaming others and begin looking for common ground. We need to let go of preconceived ideas of who “the other” is and embrace the diversity that our loving God created. We need to reach out our hands and stop turning our backs because we are uncomfortable, fearful, or entitled. And we need to do it with those folks who may not look, or act, like us. Taking care ONLY of your own, isn’t the world Jesus asked us to serve. 

Heal wounds.

Unite the broken pieces.

Welcome the lost.

Simple words that require action.