Pentecost 12, Thursday, Year B

Inspired by Psalm 34:9-14

“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 (NRSV)

Many non-Christians are good people who shy away from Christianity because they understand it to be a system of arbitrary rules and judgment. They don’t want the drama they see playing out in our churches, choosing instead to pursue a life of self-fulfillment and peace.

But to follow the God of Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is to live a life of self-fulfillment and peace. Not fulfillment of our base desires—such pursuits are simply incompatible with peaceful living. Much of the drama that goes on in our churches comes from Christians who are seeking to fulfill their base desires, rather than seeking peace and departing from evil. However God created each of us with a unique blend of gifts and abilities, and the circumstances in which we’ve lived our lives have further focused our perspectives, allowing us to see things in a certain way, a way that may be beneficial to others. God created us to live in peaceful community with one another, sharing our gifts and expanding our own horizons through the experiences and perspectives of those around us. God created us to live fulfilling lives, as the people he created us to be.

Christianity is not about following arbitrary rules or sitting in judgment over others; such things are evil, and we are called to depart from evil and do good, and seek peace and actively pursue it. If we can be more successful in these endeavors, how many more people may come to our churches, wanting to learn about what God has so graciously given to us?

Let us pray. God of peace, your ways are not our ways. Help us to depart from evil and seek peace, that we may be a light to the world and a beacon of hope in these troubled times. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.