St. Francis Returns to St. Peter’s

rencherSunday, October 6, marks an important day in our parish life that will include a focus on the life and ministry of St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) and thanksgiving for the restoration of his statue in the garden of our churchyard. (Check out the Francis-focused events of the day and attend any or all.)

Although the feast of St. Francis is observed on October 4, I offer that every day is a day to seek, pray for, and be all about peace. As one of the 20 pilgrims on the June 25–July 4 Journey to Adulthood (J2A) pilgrimage to Italy, it was a priceless moment to spend time in the hallowed and amazing places where our brother in the faith spent his holy life. Always seeking to live more like the person to whom God called him and calls us to be, I felt his presence and love for God throughout the city of Assisi; it is hard to explain. Without a doubt, I favored this town over Milan and Rome, and if I did not have commitments here at St. Peter’s, I would relocate there (of course, with my wife, Ellie) to grow old while serving God. For now, you’re stuck with us for a long time!

In all things and at all times, we are called to be about peace—to be instruments of the peace of God that passes all human understanding. As bold followers of Jesus, we are called to become people of peace. During worship, we exchange the Peace as a way to acknowledge that our fellow worshipper is created in the image of God; therefore, our offering of peace is in the name of Christ and not merely ourselves. As we journey daily into all that the day shall bring us—known and unknown, planned or unplanned, let us pray unceasingly the famous prayer (below) attributed to St. Francis and remember that we, too, can be all about peace—with God’s help.

frances-wideLord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

I look forward to co-creating peace with you through life at St. Peter’s and the gospel work we have been given to do. Yes, we are blessed in a myriad of ways, but our Lord reminds us in the Holy Scriptures, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector