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Mission At Home

Written by

Deaconess Maryann Hayter

 

Let’s linger this January. Let us consider Christmas still; the moment heaven and earth united in the song of the angels that night: Glory to God in the highest heavens—this was happening right at that moment! The highest heavens were full of the celestial songs of praise glorifying God and declaring peace among all believers on earth through this one, Jesus Christ. This is our Christmas gift! It’s the mercy of God that brings us peace! Peace with God and peace with one another.

 

This is miraculous. Have you ever found yourself searching like crazy for the magic formula of schedules, routines, planners, and the like that will bring peace to your life? And it’s not just the busy-ness. It’s not just the frenetic pace of our lives that makes peace illusive. All of that is actually a distraction that masks the problem. It’s an insidious rot that leaves a pale shadow in our hearts always longing

for peace and yet never reaching it. At times we may even come to believe that peace is impossible.


In fact, we often look around and see nothing but violence. The television, the internet, and the paper are full of violence. Man’s inhumanity to man is on full display. Yet, we don’t need to look so far to see this violence. Let’s inspect our own lives; we’ll find violence in our workplaces, our homes, and even our church. It’s easy to say that violence is outside of us and to justify ourselves as victims of the world. It’s harder to examine ourselves and to compare ourselves to the Word of God thereby seeing our shortcomings. And they are many.

 

This January let’s focus our homes on the greatest Christmas gift—the mercy of Christ that brings peace. Let this mercy of Christ drive out all violence. Use these tips to help you apply this concept:

 

Parents: The mouth is a horrible weapon. Eliminate harsh words in your home. Literally, do not allow yourselves or your children to speak negatively of other people. Consider these words as violence. Children will need help applying the 8th commandment to their mouths. Use Luther’s explanation of this commandment to instruct your children in the right use of words about others. A zero tolerance policy for tearing down others is a good idea to make an abrupt change of direction in our homes. Help children find the best in difficult circumstances and teach them empathy.

 

Think about mercy. Define it. Dwell on it. Consider it’s opposite: merciless. Teach your children to weigh if their behavior is merciful or merciless. Literally, ask them that question, “Are you being merciful or merciless?” Remind them that Christ is the mercy of God and that everything we are and everything we have —indeed our very lives—is because God is merciful to us in Christ Jesus.

 

Love is a difficult concept for children to understand in our culture today. It is not a whim; it is a great thing - even greater than faith and hope. Use 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to teach your children about love. This section is not about love between a husband and wife, but rather it defines love between brothers and sisters in Christ. When you hear violence out of your child’s mouth, ask, “Is that kind? What would be a more patient response?” etc.

“4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

When violence toward others or toward your children escapes your mouth, repent not just in yourself privately, but repent before God and before your family. This repentance teaches your children that God is truly merciful, and that you trust his mercy for your peace restored. Teach them to repent and receive his mercy and peace as well.

 

May God grant you the will and the  

       strength to complete this hard  

       work of being merciful in a merci

       less world. And may the mercy of

       Christ drive all violence from your

       midst and fill you with His peace.  

       Amen.  

 



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