Saturday, September 30, 2017

We will practice boldly the things that make for peace

Philippians 2:12

Submitted by Rev. Jessica Hawkinson

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence,
but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Reflection: I don’t think about myself as much of a “bold peacemaker.” To be honest, I don’t think of myself as a bold anything. I’m not a loud preacher, I get overwhelmed in crowds, and I would rather not have much attention drawn to me. I tend to think of the “real” peacemakers as the “blue helmets” of the United Nations, or mission co-workers in desperate situations, or people who are on the “front lines.” But when I am honest with myself, the simple act of seeking peace is as bold an act as any I can think of. The fifth peacemaking affirmation begins: “We place our faith, hope, and trust in God alone.” This a revolutionary act. It is bound to cause some fear and trembling. But to trust in the One who wills and works for good is a bold practice that speaks against all of the powers and principalities the world has to offer. Even a willingness to hope for a better world is an act of peacemaking.

Action: Identify some of the things that keep you from seeking peace and reconciliation. How would your life be transformed if you worked to practice courage and boldness beyond your fears? How would your communities benefit if you saw small acts as powerful ones?

Prayer: Challenging and inviting God, you teach us the things that make for peace. Help us to live boldly, to love boldly, to walk in your ways with the confidence that you are at work for good in us. Amen.

Jessica Hawkinson is Associate Chaplain and Director of the Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. She previously served for two years at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and as a member of the PCUSA Peace Discernment steering team. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div) and Macalester College.

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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