Experience of Peace in Promises of God

Experience of Peace in Promises of God

Jim Stinson, Consultant on Older Adult Ministries


“I feel a peacefulness that I can’t explain.”

As I write, I am reflecting on a conversation I had today with a man in his nineties. He is incredibly bright and creative, quick witted and charming. We were talking about his late wife and his grieving process during the year since her death, as well as his recent hospitalization with a heart problem. To which he noted that he felt “a peacefulness” that he could not explain.

As he gave expression to that reality, he added that he understood he was surrounded by a “great mystery” from which he felt support and love. Is there a better definition of experiencing God than that?”

That question lingers. Along with it is a question near to my heart. What is the goal of ministry to and with the older adults in our midst? Indeed what is the goal of ministry with and to anyone in our midst? What is the good news of the gospel, the good news of Jesus the Christ?  Is it not to enable the realization and the claiming of the “great mystery” through, and by whom, we are supported and loved?

My friend offered this insight as the church approached the midpoint of Advent, as it prepared for the celebration of Christmas, the birth of one we often know as Emmanuel, God with us. As a preacher, his words were heard with appreciation. They captured the purpose and the wonder of Christmas. In these troubled times is there a more important goal than witnessing to, and enabling, a realization that we are surrounded by the mystery of a Love that will not let us go? The gospel is clear in its announcement. “Do not be afraid. Behold I bring you tidings of great joy.”

Is there anyone alive who does not need to hear this word, this promise? This is the work—the joy—of ministry. Young, old, and in between, need to hear the promise. We are not alone. God is with us. Our calling, our ministry as lay and clergy, is to enable the realization of the promise of Christmas, the promise that leads one to announce “I feel a peacefulness that I can’t explain.”

May we all experience such certainty, such joy.