Peace that passes understanding: a community that shares
By Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions
and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Reflection: The thought of selling and distributing our possessions probably frightens us. We live in an individualistic society not that different from the Roman Empire. The first church in Jerusalem did something revolutionary for then and now. They practiced koinonia, which besides “fellowship” also conveys “partnership” in the Greek language. Scholars tell us that koinonia means that Christians are called to share their God-given resources with each other and especially with the poor. It means that Christians are called to make sure that justice prevails, not only within the church family, but also in society in general. Justice for all is the first requirement for people to live in peace.
Action: Being in koinonia or partnership means that we take care of each other; that we are only as strong as our weakest neighbor; that we must take responsibility for each other to make sure that no one goes hungry or homeless or is discriminated against. We are all interdependent. Consider sharing your time and resources with someone else today. Maybe you will help refugees, or volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or support Living Waters for the World in bringing clean water to communities, or advocate on behalf of those who are marginalized.
Prayer: Generous God, help us to understand that everything we have comes from you. Your child Jesus gave up everything for us, including his life. Give us strength to follow his example as well as the example of the first Christian community, so that we can all live in true koinonia. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja is a minister member of the Presbytery of Santa Fe and currently serves as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the current moderator for the Hispanic/Latinx National Presbyterian Caucus and an adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. A former refugee from Cuba, Tony has developed new ministries with refugees and immigrants in Florida and Kentucky.
This year’s A Season of Peace resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues like human trafficking and sustainable development, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the days of this year’s A Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect on:
- Peace that passes understanding: personal testimonies of faith and peace within self, within families, within communities
- Partners in peace: interfaith work for peace and justice, building peace between us while witnessing to peace in our wider world
- Go and see: reflections from travel study seminar participants
- The church and its witness: reflections on addressing trafficking in its varied forms
- Peacemaking and practice: stories and reflections on building bridges and crossing divide
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 2, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 7.