A Message From Pastor Margaret
Grace and peace to you!
This past weekend, I worked with a congregation
involved in a serious conflict. This was my second
meeting with them. At the end of the session,
everyone in the room felt overcome by the
incredible feeling of peace. I left there feeling
inspired, hopeful and encouraged that we as
human beings can allow our hearts to be softened, for mercy to be born and give forgiveness and reconciliation a chance.
In John Chapter 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples that they would be one, as He and God are One. He then went on to pray for all believers, for you and me, that the world would see this perfect union. Jesus prayed this prayer, because He knew that He would be gone soon, and that His disciples would need inner strength to stay strong, facing the struggles ahead.
It was through prayer that Jesus was able to perform miracles, and show love, mercy and the power of forgiveness to those around Him, even those who would abandon and crucify Him. Jesus’ close union with God enabled Him to endure the pain and suffering, but also experience the hope of the resurrection. The earthly Jesus was a Man of peace, who found His peace in relationship and union with God. That is why He desired for His disciples and all believers to have that same union He had with God, a union that would withstand the storms of life.
Toward the end of the session with the congregation, I was about to suggest we sing a hymn, when one member exclaimed, “Can we sing a hymn?” My heart jumped, and I smiled, as I walked toward her and hugged her. Everyone went quiet for a moment, then we sang our hearts out! We all felt the Spirit of God at work, as well as a feeling of oneness.
As a result of the conflict, some members had left the church in 2017. A couple who stopped coming to church since November, was present, and I witnessed how their fellow members encouraged them, letting them and others who were hesitant to return, know how their love for one another did not end, because of the conflict. Apologies were offered, forgiveness was shared, and at the end of the session, after many tears were shed, the couple announced their return to the church.
I saw the love of God at work in that room. I saw humility, and the ability of human hearts to be softened. I saw the oneness among people of faith, who have been praying for healing and oneness to be returned.
Members of Barre Congregational Church...I have experienced that same feeling of peace, serving you during the last number of months. May God continue to help us, to be a congregation one with God and one another, and may the peace of God stay with us always.
Blessings to all of you,