Eileen had lived in a community that was over three hours away from the nursing home where she was residing. Suffering from dementia, she believed she was still in her hometown. She thought the other residents of the facility were neighbors from that town.
She thought I came to visit from her home church. She became upset when none of us recognized the people and places that were dear to her.
I’m writing about Eileen because I learned from her a little of what it means to be a Christian.
As sad as her confusion was, joy stirred within her whenever she spoke about a study group she belonged to at her church. Every week for decades, she and others had met to discuss ways to nurture God’s peace. They always closed their meetings by praying the World Peace Prayer.
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Despite all her confusion, Eileen could still recite that prayer perfectly: “Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.”
Eileen taught me that being a Christian is to be so anchored in promoting new life, justice, and peace among the peoples of the world that nothing can tear such a hope from our hearts.
Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul
Grantfork United Church of Christ