February 28, 2016 • Life for Leaders
May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!
In many churches today, there is a time in the worship service for the Passing of the Peace. The person leading worship says something like, “The peace of the Lord be with you.” The congregation responds, “And also with you.” Then, worshipers are invited to share the peace with others. They turn to their neighbors and echo the blessing that had been given to them, saying “The peace of the Lord be with you” or something like this.
The Lord is able and willing to share his strength with us. The Lord is able and willing to bless us with his peace.
I did not grow up in a church that passed the peace in worship. We greeted each other more casually, if at all. So, when I began worshiping in a congregation that passed the peace each week, at first I felt a bit awkward. But, as I began to pay more attention to what I was saying and doing, I began to value the passing of the peace as a time to bless my fellow worshipers with one of the greatest of all gifts: God’s peace.
In Psalm 29, David writes “May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!” After calling for God to be worshiped (29:1-2), the bulk of Psalm 29 focuses on God’s superlative strength as revealed in the natural world (29:3-9). Verse 10 emphasizes God’s endless authority. Then, verse 11 adds a final, encouraging, empowering thought. The Lord is able and willing to share his strength with us. The Lord is able and willing to bless us with his peace.
Do you need the peace of the Lord today? Are you struggling with worry? With fear? With unfocused anxiety? With hatred? With hopelessness? Perhaps you need peace, not just in your inner being, but also in your relationships at home or in the workplace. Maybe you recently had a fight with your boss, your spouse, or your teenager. And when we think about our world, we all share a desperate desire for peace. We yearn, not just for the absence of conflict, but also for the wholeness of God that leads to justice and blessing for all.
If I were with you right now, I’d extend my hand and offer you the peace of Christ. But, since we are not together, I’ll let the words of Psalm 29:11 suffice: May the LORD give strength to you! May the LORD bless you with peace!
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
If you’re in a church that regularly encourages you to pass the peace in worship, how do you think about this activity?
In what areas of your life or for what concerns and challenges do you need the peace of God today?
Thank you, God of power and might, eternal king, for blessing your people with peace. Thank you for all the times you have given me the gift of peace, not only internal peace, but peace in my relationships, in my work, in my activity in the world.
Lord, I pray for all who read this devotion today, that you would indeed give them the gift of your peace. And may we all pass on this gift to others in your name, not only in words, but also in deeds. Amen.