We will practice boldly the things that make for peace
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Ott
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
Reflection: At the root of war is greed. This greed is born of a deep sense of insecurity. We do not trust that we have and will continue to have what we need, so we gather and hoard more and more. We are always stretching our boundaries claiming more land, more resources, more power.
The Lord’s Prayer speaks powerfully to this original greed. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Give us this day what we need for this day; not enough for countless days to come; not enough so that we can gorge ourselves; not so much that our neighbors have less. Give us this day our daily bread.
“And forgive our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” The prayer assumes we have forgiven our debtors. Would that it were so. Some churches say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Forgive our invasions even as we forgive those who invade our land. Forgive our resource-grabbing even as we forgive those who grab our resources. Forgive our warring even as we forgive those who war against us.
“And lead us not into the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” We are to put our trust in God to rescue us and to deliver us from evil, but we trust in our own strength. We seek our physical “security,” and we think too little about the security of our souls.
O God in heaven,
“Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.”
Prayer: O God in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Daniel J. Ott is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Monmouth College, Monmouth Illinois. His research interests include liberal theology in the twentieth century and Christian approaches to peace and nonviolence. His articles and review articles have appeared in Political Theology and the American Journal for Theology and Philosophy among others. He is co-author with Hannah Schell of Christian Thought in America: A Brief History (Fortress Press).
 “God of Grace and God of Glory” Harry Emerson Fosdick
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.