We reclaim the power of nonviolent love
Submitted by Rev. Terra Winston
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Reflection: These lines in Romans focus on what is at the heart of Jesus’ message—righteousness, peace, and joy. It is yet another call to serve Christ in these ways. This text is found within a larger discussion about food laws, but it is a text that goes beyond food laws. This passage is really talking about how to reconcile our differences. We may have disagreements over how something is to be done, but this text calls us to find ways to work with one another for the mutual benefit of everyone involved. In a system where violence and weapons are used, someone always loses. In a system where we learn to compromise, there is a potential for everyone to win, and in this there is great power.
Action: Think of a recent disagreement that you have had. What was at the heart of it for you? What was at the heart of it for the other person? Are there points of compromise that you can see for your understanding? What misunderstandings were involved? With this new knowledge, think through how you could have handled the discussion differently. If possible, revisit this discussion using this new power of reconciliation with the goal being mutual benefits.
Prayer: God of all, help us keep our eyes on the goal.
Give us courage to address the issues that have been left to fester and humility to model love and compassion. In a polarized community in desperate need of healing, bring people of all beliefs together, that we may work for peace and justice for all. In your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
(Adapted from Diann Neu’s “Prayer for Healing”)
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.