Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prayer for peace

This seems appropriate after all the heat of yesterday:

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life,
to serve you is perfect freedom:
defend us your servants from all assaults of our enemies,
that we may trust in your defence
and not fear the power of any adversaries;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


This was this morning's collect, a prayer that dates from Cranmer's Prayer Book. Of course this prayer would have felt very different in the violent context of 16th century England, but still the prayer for peace at a time of religious controversy seems apposite.

Is God the lover of concord? That is an interesting question, because the peace of God is not "peace at any price". But I think this prayer captures what it is to be at rest under the sovereignty of God, understanding that it is better to leave the battles to him than to fight them ourselves.

In the light of the previous post, it's good to be reminded that it isn't really appropriate to lose our rag with each other over these things. There's always room for disagreement within the church, but since we claim to worship the author of peace, we ought to be able to play out our disagreements with maturity and mutual respect. Perhaps the antagonists at Synod should sit down together and pray this prayer (and mean it) before the next session. I like to think that it would make a difference to the way the debate proceeds, even if the outcome remains the same.

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