This morning’s text from chapter 11 of the Acts of the Apostles gives a clear sense of how the “good news” of Christ is spreading and ends with the statement that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. It wasn’t all euphoria, however. There was lots of persecution accompanying the work of the disciples and many refugees who had been scattered in the wake of Stephen’s murder. It reminded me of images of all the people who are fleeing their homes in Syria and elsewhere today, searching for a safe shelter and a home where they might raise their families in peace.
Psalm 87 followed those thoughts and my longing for “the peaceable kingdom” for all people in our world. Not unaware that today is primary day for New Yorkers and that it takes more than an individual voice to solve the problems of the world, I know that I will vote today, hoping that there will be a smooth transition of leadership in our country – not only for the presidency but in all three branches of our government – so that the corporate voice of the United States might be heard in the world for the good of all. I will also pray today that reason and good will may increase to overcome violence and destruction in the world.
While those two things are what I know I can do, perhaps there is a call today for me to delve more deeply into what is happening to change systems that contribute to the breakdown of society, to see where I might participate in building up solutions toward peace and the vision of the psalmist who calls such a place a homeland, a sacred birthing place, for many people across the earth, for here God’s presence dwells and draws them in, and makes everyone her own. (Ps 87:4-5)