With all of the sad news from Lui South Sudan of fighting in the villages of Lui, Lanyi, Buagyi, and Mideh.  Of the looting of their stores in those villages, stores which do not have much in the way of supplies for the village and now have even less.  It is hard to know what to write today.  Violence impacts all our lives when it comes to those we know and even those we don't.

I have been pondering what peace means though.  Was there something we could have helped spread while we were there?  Something we could have taught?  How will peace come when people have only known years of war and distrust?  How do we show Christ's love and how does it permeate all of our life?  There is no easy answer and yet peace has somehow come to places where this has been true.  Sometimes one person is all it took to make the difference.  Do the South Sudanese people have that person who can lead them?

The other thing I have pondered is how sharp the gospel story sounds in this place at this time.  I think of all the promises we have heard during Advent and Christmas of Israel's restoration from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.  How being free to travel on the road back home means something totally different in Lui. How having a land which flows with plenty, with gardens which can be planted and yield a good portion means something deeper.  Also, how the good byes which are said like this "God willing I will see you in the morning" or "God willing we will see each other again, if not here in this time then at the resurrection".  How much more the resurrection hope of Christ in seeing, reuniting with family and friends means.  How we are held in God's care even when things are out of control.  And how nothing "separate(s) us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 9:39).

I pray today for all our friends who do not know peace.  I pray for their safety.  I pray for someone who will bring peace.  I pray for our meeting again one day where we will know the deepest peace.