Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
This week I have been overwhelmed by the news coming out of Israel and Gaza. The sheer magnitude of the cruelty and death from Hamas and the retaliatory blockade of Gaza by Israel leave me feeling waves of sadness and impotence. How can human beings be so heartless? What can I do?
There was a saying in the late sixties and early seventies which has had a profound impact on me: “Think globally, act locally.” This slogan has taken on greater salience for me as the internet and the 24 hour news cycle has connected us with people across the earth. While I may be aware now, more than ever, of what is happening in the world, I can only act here, now.
I cannot bring peace to the Middle East, as much as I would want to, but I can shape the kind of city Houston is and becomes, so can you. Participating in the process of civic engagement through voting, talking with our neighbors about what is honorable, just, pure, commendable; cleaning up our neighborhoods; listening to the concerns of our friends; communicating with our leaders make peace. Peace in our tradition is not the mere absence of war, it is wholeness, wellbeing for everyone.
For the next month our parish will be reaching within and beyond us to make peace. By encouraging each other to make a plan to vote, to think and pray about how civic engagement is an act of Christian faith, to learning about the candidates and issues that affect our common life—from new public hospital facilities, to retired teacher raises, to representation on regional planning boards– by driving our neighbors to the polls, by casting our own ballots, we will be making peace.
We have received the gift of democracy and many of us have fought and sought for its preservation. In the face of such global and national challenges, it is time for us to keep doing the things we have learned and received, and the peace of God will be with us.
-The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector