Last Sunday, the members of Epiphany Lutheran Church of Mount Vernon, shared God's peace in a unique way. During the passing of the Peace, the part of the liturgy when we greet each other in the name of the Lord and extend God’s peace to each other with either a handshake, or a kiss for lucky traditionalists; we also included those who were outside our assembly that morning. We lined up and signed a small banner of doves, which read “In peace let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.” This is the first petition of the Kyrie we sing at the start of every worship service.
The banner was a gesture of our love, prayers and support for the Sikh people after the shootings at a Sikh house of worship in Wisconsin. I found the scene, people bending low over the banner to sign their names, pausing thoughtfully to consider what else they wanted to say, stirring and strangely moving.
If we worship a savior who was himself the innocent victim of violence and religious intolerance, doesn’t that require us to stand with today’s victims of violence and religious intolerance? Maybe the highest praise, the purest worship any of us can offer is to simply affirm peace in the face of violence, to answer an act of hate with a few thoughtful words of love.
And so, to the members of the Sikh community and to all victims of hate and violence and intolerance, we stand with you and we say, "The Peace of the Lord be with us all."