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O God, you so loved the world that you gave your only- begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven: Grant that we, loving you above all things, may love our friends in you, and our enemies for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Look at this multiple image of a graffiti message on a stone wall in the Holy Land.  What is your first impression?  Now look more closely at the details of the stone, the irregular, harsh surfaces.  The black letters saying “We NEED peace” with NEED shouted all in capital letters. What do you see and feel?

Reflect.  Imagine a situation that led to this message.  And the emotion behind it.  From your perspective is this an angry demand, a tearful prayer, both, or something else entirely?  The world relentlessly shows us stories in which persons are persecuted or killed because of their religion, even as they worship. Because of race, ethnicity, language, culture. You name it.  As people of faith, we are reminded in the words of the Collect today to love everyone.  Consider what you can do to make a meaningful change in the ways that we treat those who differ from us.

Act. Pray, of course pray, for peace.  We all need peace. All of humanity yearns for peace.  Yet consider if there is a step you can take beyond prayer that will help bring lasting peace to persons who are victim of injustice.  How might you do something that will promote understanding of others?

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata”  /Album:  Ambient Sonata  /Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:   “We NEED Peace”   /Place: Bethlehem, The Holy Land /Photographer: Jon Shematek

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