Monday, September 18, 2017

Peacemaking is essential to our faith


 I Corinthians 1:20–31

Submitted by Rev. Ginna Bairby

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Reflection: “Peacemaking? You’re working on peacemaking? Good luck with that!

Have you gotten that response before? Many of us have. My friend David is a singer-songwriter who put a successful music career on hold to pursue a Rotary World Peace Fellowship in Australia. When he told people why he was going on a musical hiatus, he got this response so often that he made it a chapter title, “Good Luck with That!” in his recent book, Worldchanging 101[1]. Why would he walk away from something good and safe to do something seemingly impossible, even foolish? “World Peace? Good luck with that!”

After all, what sounds more “foolish,” more idealistic, than working for peace? We have an entire generation growing up who have never known a time when our country wasn’t at war.

But then again, we’re Gospel people. We’re people of Resurrection. What the world says is impossible we proclaim to be true.

Or as Howard Zinn puts it:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not being foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of competition and cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness . . . To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”[2]

Action: Today, just for practice, lend some of your time and energy to a cause that seems impossible, too big to make a difference, or simply “foolish.”

Prayer: God of Resurrection, open our eyes to see the world as you do, recognizing your possibility in the face of the impossible and your wisdom in the face of so-called “foolishness.” Amen.

Rev. Ginna Bairby is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Taos, New Mexico. Previously, she served for several years with the PC(USA)’s Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministries and as a Young Adult Volunteer in Lima, Peru. She is a graduate of the College of William Mary and Union Presbyterian Seminary and is the editor of the book Worldchanging 101 by David LaMotte.

[1] Lamotte, David. Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness. Montreat, NC: Dryad Publishing, Inc., 2014.
[2] Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United Stated. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers 2005. p. 8.

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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