A Nation Waits: Seeking a Center of Peace

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Editor’s Note: as we all await an answer to the question of who will become our next president, we have asked a number of key voices to offer brief day-after reflections and reactions, which we will release throughout the day. The entry that follows comes from Mandy Smith, pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati, OH, and a member of our Writing Team.

I write the morning after the election, having not yet checked the news. Before I learn where things stand in the political world, I want to remember things that are even more true. Psalm 46 always grounds me, giving space to both feel the turmoil and to have a center of peace, unshaken by the headlines.

Join me in this visualization of Psalm 46:

Visualize a ring of tall mountains with a deep valley in the center.
On top of each mountain, imagine a powerful city.
Psalm 46 says, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall.”
Visualize these strong cities in crisis.
What do you see and hear as walls and powers crumble?

Psalm 46 also says, “The earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Visualize now that the mountains are in upheaval, magma bursting through broken earth, boulders tumbling.
How do you feel this upheaval in your life? The world?

Now visualize in the valley in the center of all this there is a beautiful city in peace, fed by a wide, tranquil river.
As Psalm 46 describes: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”
How can it be that in the middle of all this crisis there is a place at peace?

And Psalm 46 describes the kind of ruler who leads this peaceful city:
“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’

This peace is not a forced peace brought on by war or oppression, but a peace that grows from the very nature of the One who rules with justice and joy.

Those who live in this kind of reign say:
“The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Regardless of what we read in the headlines, whether or not it goes the way we hoped, how it brings discord, how can there be a place of peace in us, even in the midst of upheaval?

Regardless of what we read in the headlines, whether or not it goes the way we hoped, how it brings discord, how can there be a place of peace in us, even in the midst of upheaval? Click To Tweet

May the peace at our center speak peace into whatever turmoil we engage today.

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