Sunday, September 3, 2017

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Peacemaking is essential to our faith


Romans 12:18

Submitted by Rev. Jessica Hawkinson

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Reflection: Welcome to the 2017 Season of Peace. In this season, you’re invited to walk with five peacemakers through five affirmations that are central to the peacemaking work of the Presbyterian Church (USA). As you listen, act, and pray this week, know that the work of peace depends on you. The first Peacemaking Affirmation declares “that peacemaking is essential to our faith in God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ, whose love and justice challenge evil and hatred, and whose call gives our church a mission to present alternatives to violence.” Despite a significant background in engagement with peacemaking ministries, I spend a fair amount of time wishing that peace didn’t depend on me. I am frequently frustrated by the ever-expansive “all” referred to in Romans 12:18. “If it is possible” seems a discouraging open-ended question for a weary peacemaker. After all, peace means weeping with those who weep, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and overcoming the evil in the world with good. It is not easy work, but in that moment when we choose to take up the call to live peaceably, we become participants in God’s possibility and work in the world.

Action: Read Romans 12:9–21. Whom do you find it most difficult to live peaceably with? Who in your community is weeping? Rejoicing? Who are the strangers who yearn for your hospitality? Practice reconciliation in your church and community.

Prayer: God of impossible possibilities, give us an ever-expansive “all” to seek peace with. Draw us into your wide embrace and teach us to live faithfully. Amen.

Jessica Hawkinson is Associate Chaplain and Director of the Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. She previously served for two years at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and as a member of the PCUSA Peace Discernment steering team. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div) and Macalester College.

This year’s Path of Peace reflections are based on the Five Affirmations to Guide the Peacemaking Witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Writers were recruited to help us explore the following affirmations as each week of A Season of Peace unfolds:

  1. Peacemaking is essential to our faith.
  2. We have sinned by participating in acts of violence.
  3. We reclaim the power of nonviolent love.
  4. We commit to the study and practice of nonviolence.
  5. We will practice boldly the things that make for peace.

Each author writes Monday–Friday, beginning with the first affirmation and ending with the fifth. The authors represent a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts, and each week presents a new ‘voice’ to walk you through the affirmations. The weekend devotions, written by the editor, also reflect the five affirmations. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 3, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 1.

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