Emmanuel, I give you thanks
for all the churches where people find peace —
as sunday school wonder,
beauty of building
in stained glass or hand-smooth pews,
kindness in kitchen and prayer meeting,
in Fair and choir and youth group sardines,
a sanctuary from a violent home,
first light after desperate mourning,
new beginning from a deeply broken time,
moment when pastor or parishioner
passed the peace and really meant it.
And today, I pray for churches that need peace —
in the midst of budget conflict,
anxiety about shrinking membership,
aftermath of misconduct,
and need to offer a place of peace
by giving sanctuary to the frightened,
standing up for justice,
breaking the silence around sexual violence.
The angels sang “peace on earth,”
may that be so in our earth-bound places
that strive to sing of heaven. amen.