Peacemaking is essential to our faith
Submitted by Rev. Terra Winston
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the
great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depends the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Reflection: Our Christian faith has two essential parts, to love God with every part of our being, with our hearts and with our souls and to engage our minds in this love. God is love, God is the Prince of Peace, and we find in Jesus and the Holy Spirit an example of how to treat one another. We find an example of how to engage the outcast and those we don’t often encounter. Jesus’ command also speaks of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. In order to begin to love, we must start to interact with our neighbors and cease the fear within ourselves. The work of peace is essential to our faith and begins with each one of us.
Action: Ask yourself the question: “Who is my neighbor?” Who are the neighbors you don’t think of? Who are the neighbors you fear? What people do you not engage? What part of town are you afraid to go to? What countries will you not visit? What are the examples God has given us to begin to break down these barriers? What are the gifts God has given you to be present to your neighbors?
Prayer: Dearest God, Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, that we may be one body. Let the word of Christ dwell richly in each of us, teaching us to admonish one another in all wisdom. Give us strength so that whatever we do in word or deed we do it in your name. Amen.
Terra Winston is the Delegations Coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams. Through her work, she often travels to Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Hebron in the West Bank as well as working with Indigenous Communities in North America. Terra also works in Donor Relations at the Christian Century magazine. She received her M. Div from McCormick Theological Seminary and a ThM. from Princeton Seminary.
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:
- Peacemaking is essential to our faith.
- We have sinned by participating in acts of violence.
- We reclaim the power of nonviolent love.
- We commit to the study and practice of nonviolence.
- 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.