Toward the Peaceful Kingdom: A Faith Walk
Second Sunday in Advent: December 5, 2010
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6).
There is a needlepoint sampler framed and hanging in our family room. This sampler says “kindness matters.” I believe in kindness. I believe God believes in kindness, and that kindness is a key to the kingdom.
Kindness promotes goodness, peace and love in families and throughout communities. Kindness allows gentleness to become a powerful tool in bringing about spiritual growth.
Our spiritual growth elevates peaceful, faith-filled living and calls us to freely and joyously display love as we relate to others around us. I believe in kindness as a steppingstone toward whom God means us to be as God’s children. Kindness matters.
We all encounter faith walks. We venture into new, uncharted territories that push our boundaries and broaden our knowledge of humanity. In working as a hospital chaplain I have experienced many such journeys throughout the years. There have been walks beside dedicated staff members after they lost a patient, walks beside families as they enter a hospital room, spiritual walks with patients as they digest the news of their fate, and walks to infants’ rest as the officiate at the burial services.
I can also recall walks of joy: “he lived through the surgery,” “the baby is healthy,” “she survived the accident.” All of these are faith walks. Peace and kindness were the basis for introducing Christ into a complex spiritual equation.
My first true emergency call was to respond to the obstetrics ward. A mother and newborn baby had tested positive for illegal drugs. The mother, father, two young children and a caseworker were all in the hospital room. My call was to be there when they told the mother and father that the children, including the new baby, were being taken from the home and put in state custody. As I stepped out of the elevator and looked down the endless hallway, security guards lined the corridor, prepared for trouble.
I stopped and took deep breaths, praying for each person in that room. My steps were deliberate, head high, and suddenly my hands were by my side gripping—what? Air? I realized I was holding on to the hem of the garment. Christ was there with me. As surely as each foot took another step, Christ was in front of me leading the way. It was a faith walk.
I have taken many, many faith walks since that day. We all make these journeys as a spouse, mother, father, grandparent, friend and child of God. I have never again found my hands physically holding the hem of the garment of Christ. That one instance of realization of the Lord in front of me was so profound that I have known from that day forward that we were not created to walk alone into the fray without resting assured that as a servant of the Lord we are the followers, and he walks ahead to make the path clear in order that his will be done.
I have faith in Him, and he has faith in me. It’s a solid relationship.
Kindness matters for creating spaces for a peaceable kingdom to take root in our hearts, in our work places and in our communities.
Let us pray:
Gracious Lord, in this most special season of rejoicing your birth, may we find it in our hearts to relinquish the past transgressions that hold us from you. Give us strength and forethought to speak only the language of kindness to others. This is the one true language that will transcend all language barriers, be it ethnicities, races or religious teachings. May we take joy in new beginnings that binds us more closely to you. If peace on earth between all nations is our dream, may our words to one another be formed in our mouth through love and kindness of spirit, and may you find them pleasing in your creation. Please, Lord, shower your blessings on those named in our December Prayer Calendar as they go about being your hands and feet on this earth. Their mission goals are many, and they fervently work as they walk their daily faith journey. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
Kandi Mount is a deaconess and hospital chaplain from the Arkansas Annual Conference