Peacemaking is essential to our faith
2 Corinthians 5:16–21
Submitted by Rev. Roger Scott Powers
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
Reflection: Christianity is all about reconciliation—reconciling us with God, with one another, and with God’s creation. Reconciliation is so central to the Christian faith that it serves as the overarching theme of one of our confessions—the Confession of ‘67. It says: “God’s reconciling work in Jesus Christ and the mission of reconciliation to which he has called his church are the heart of the gospel in any age.” And it acknowledges that “our generation stands in peculiar need of reconciliation in Christ.”
That’s as true today as it was in 1967. It’s fifty years later, and we in the United States are deeply divided: Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, rich vs. poor, black vs. white, urban vs. rural. Bridging these divides and healing our body politic are more important than ever.
Of all the many challenges of peacemaking, reconciliation is probably the most difficult, because it requires two or more parties to resume a relationship that has been torn apart by conflict. Reconciliation is difficult, but it is not impossible. We prove it is possible every time we have a fight or disagreement with a friend or family member or coworker and then later make up with each other.
Just as God is involved in the activity of reconciliation, so we are called to be involved in the work of reconciliation as well. Whether we are talking about conflicts between individual persons, between groups of people, or between nation-states, God sends us out to be “ambassadors for Christ” entrusted with the message of reconciliation.
Action: Reconciliation begins with a willingness to listen. Sit down with someone who disagrees with you and offer to listen to them without interruption or judgment.
Prayer: O Lord, support and uphold us in living out our calling as messengers of reconciliation, building bridges across lines that divide us, and helping to heal the wounds of our broken world. Amen.
Rev. Roger Scott Powers is pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. He has worked with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship for many years. He is also co-editor of a 640-page encyclopedia of nonviolent action entitled Protest, Power, and Change.
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.