We will practice boldly the things that make for peace
Submitted by Rev. Terra Winston
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
Reflection: The first few verses of Micah 4 are well known to most Christians and most peacemakers. The bold imagery of nations destroying weapons and recycling the metal into farm tools is a beautiful thing to imagine. We look forward to that day of peace and work hard to bring it about. However, congregations rarely talk about the texts that follow, which can serve as a blueprint for how to begin the peacemaking process. After the beautiful images of everyone having enough, each with their own vine and fig tree, and everyone connecting with their gods, as we connect with our God, there are instructions about what is to be done with the hurt that has occurred. God does not ignore what has happened and just move on with history, a mistake that is common in our world. God gathers the lame, the injured ones, and lets them know that they are survivors, that they have their own story and strength that comes from it. If we are to become one world, one nation, one community, one church, we must do the bold work of peacemaking.
Action: Who are those left out in your community? What needs to be named and discussed in order for your communities to reconcile themselves? Create a list of what needs to be done in order to reconcile these relationships.
O God, gladly we live and move and have our being in you.
Yet always in the midst of this creation-glory,
we see sin’s shadow and feel death’s darkness:
around us in the earth, sea, sky, and the abuse of matter;
beside us in the broken, the hungry, the poor, and the betrayal of one another;
and often deep within us a striving against your Spirit.
O Trinity of love, forgive us that we may forgive one another,
heal us that we may be people of healing,
and renew us that we also may be makers of peace. Amen. (Iona Abbey Worship Book, 80)
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.