O merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace, that by your grace we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sin and the Unquiet Mind
“And serve you with a quiet mind”: how often my mind is far from quiet. The demands of daily life combine with larger anxieties and demands to create a cacophony of internal sound that drowns out the voice of God offering pardon and peace.
Sometimes the restlessness comes from sin, from failures to love others, from selfish ambition, from a nursed grudge or the envy of a neighbor. From an inability to trust God with the worries we carry.
Other times, a restless mind arises from the sins of others, from pain and fear caused by the actions of someone else. Or perhaps from the strains of living in a fallen world, where strife and illness and death occur all too often.
Pardon and Peace Intertwine
And so today’s collect asks for pardon and peace, intertwining the two in a reminder that sin disrupts peace and that true, lasting peace comes to us only through God, through the work of Christ.
Pardon for our own sins brings about peace, as God forgives the things we have done and left undone, our failures to love God and love our neighbor. With forgiveness — and not grudging or temporary forgiveness, but a forgiveness that cleanses and removes our sin — we can begin to experience peace as we rest secure in the God who loves us as beloved children.
Peace also arises from the certainty that the death and resurrection of Jesus not only cleanses personal sins but also will set right all of the damage caused by sin in the world: sickness and death, wars and natural disasters, abuse and oppression. We inevitably grieve over the brokenness of our world, but rest in the peace of God’s promised kingdom.
Serving in Peace
At the end of each service of Holy Communion, we are sent out from worship in peace to serve God. Only when we live in God’s peace, when our minds are quieted from the cacophony of sin both internal and external, can we devote our attention to serving God.
And so we pray that, out of God’s abundant grace, God will cleanse our sins and quiet our minds, allowing us to go forth in peace to love and serve God. Thanks be to God.
Sarah Lindsay has a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and she spent four years teaching at a small Christian college in the south before relocating to the Chicagoland area, where she now lives with her husband and three young daughters. As she transitions out of academia, Sarah is finding new avenues for her writing. She loves encouraging and empowering women in the church, and she also loves using her training as a scholar of the middle ages to expose people to the rich historical background of Christianity.
Sarah has written for Christians for Biblical Equality [CBE]’s publications Mutuality and Arise, and her blog is IntoResurrection.com. She is also on Twitter @drlindsay.