A DOZEN YEARS HAVE PASSED since a deeply generous Episcopalian parish priest honoured me with the gift of an inscribed (Episcopal) Book of Common Prayer. I’d been invited to preach at the wonderfully celebrated marriage of a friend in the delightful Christ Church, Covington, Louisiana .

Fr Steve’s inscription inspired and touched a nerve in me. “My life is richer for your having visited, and the bonds of our faith are stronger for your being such a grace. Many, many thanks. Shalom. Shalom”.

What an immense kindness. What immense hospitality and graciousness of soul. I struggled to believe that I could have been much of a grace, but the benediction has many times spurred me on to seek to be such a grace … that “the bonds of our faith” might be stronger.

And I’ve since tried actively to seek out people who bear the grace of God to a Church and to a world that are striving now, as always, that the much sought after, and apparently so elusive, “Peace of God” may prevail. And I continually rediscover that there are many such people; many now who grace the world with the angelic blessing “Do not be afraid! I bring you good news”; many who “visit” us and make our lives richer.

Can I name a few? Certainly. Have a look at Archbishop Rowan’s ‘Scriptures in Monotheistic Faith’; and at Maggi Dawn’s Beginnings and Endings; and sit down for a while, close your eyes, and listen to Lucy Winkett’s ‘Our Sound is our Wound’.

Immense hospitality and graciousness of soul: “that the bonds of our faith be stronger.” God is good. Brighter days will dawn as we “seek peace and pursue it”.