May God’s peace guard your hearts.
May God’s peace guard your hearts against those things that poison the heart
May God’s peace guard your hearts against those things that poison the heart
From without … and from within.
May God’s peace guard our hearts against venom and violence.
May God’s peace guard our hearts against bitterness
May God’s peace guard our hearts against resentment
May God’s peace guard our hearts against resignation
May God’s peace guard our hearts against fear
May God’s peace guard our hearts against callousness
May God’s peace guard our hearts against lust for dominance
May God’s peace guard our hearts against all those things that poison the heart
From without
And from within

May God’s peace empty your hearts
May God’s peace empty your hearts of all things that rot the heart
May God’s peace empty your hearts of all things that rot the heart
From without
And from within
May God’s peace empty our hearts of judgment
May God’s peace empty our hearts of anger
May God’s peace empty our hearts of hatred
May God’s peace empty our hearts of guilt
May God’s peace empty your hearts of all things that rot the heart
From without
And from within

May God’s peace fill your hearts
May God’s peace fill your hearts with all those things that strengthen the heart
May God’s peace fill your hearts with all those things that strengthen the heart
From without
And from within.
May God’s peace fill our hearts with forgiveness
May God’s peace fill our hearts with love
May God’s peace fill our hearts with courage
May God’s peace fill our hearts with clarity
May God’s peace fill our hearts with generosity
May God’s peace fill our hearts with hope
May God’s peace fill our hearts with wisdom
May God’s peace fill our hearts with what is true
May God’s peace fill our hearts with what is pure of heart
May God’s peace fill our hearts with what gives pleasure
May God’s peace fill your hearts with all those things that strengthen the heart
From without
And from within.

May God’s peace open your hearts – strong and pure –
May God’s peace open your hearts to all the open hearts around you and around this world,
May God’s peace open your hearts – strong and pure –
to all the closed hearts around you and around this world
May God’s peace open our hearts to the Great Heart at the heart of Creation
May God’s peace open our hearts to the Great Love, the Love Supreme – that flows from God through all of us in Creation
May God’s peace open our hearts to wonder, wonder before that Love Supreme,
Wonder before that Supreme Peace, the Peace that surpasses understanding.
Peace … peace …

(Delivered Sunday October 15, 2017, at First Congregational Church of Walla Walla, by Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg)

Readings:
From the “Breastplate” prayer of St. Patrick:

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock.
 
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me, From snare of devils, From temptations of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, Afar and anear, Alone and in a multitude

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice always in the Sovereign of the Universe. Again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Supreme One is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.