Partners in peace
By Rev. Patrick D. Heery
1 Corinthians 13
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.
Reflection: During my final year in college, I had the privilege of participating in community discussions that brought together people of many different faith backgrounds—Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Unitarian, Quaker, Buddhist, Hindu, mainline Protestant, Evangelical. These talks were part of a university program called Difficult Dialogues, which invited divergent viewpoints on such topics as war, environmental justice, economics, sexuality, science, and reproductive choice.
In contrast to the rancor and the rehearsed soundbites that dominate our public discourse today, it was moving to witness so many different people delving deeply into ideas that matter, unafraid to disagree, unafraid to challenge, but equally committed to maintaining the dignity and humanity of their interlocutors. Far from dividing us, these conversations brought us closer. They led to shared meals in church basements, mosques, and community centers. Friendships were formed.
Something powerful happens when we eat together, serve together, learn and discuss together, worship together. If peace begins with vulnerability, it takes root in relationship.
This week you’re going to read about efforts to build peace between us while witnessing to peace in the wider world.
Action: Talk with someone today who’s different from you. Eat a meal together. Resist the labels and soundbites that quickly render us unable to see or hear the other. Talk about why you believe what you believe. You may not change the other’s mind. But you will witness to the God of peace.
Prayer: O magnificent God, you created such a diverse world full of such diverse people. As your servant Paul once said, we see through a glass darkly. Help us find each other and, through each other, come to see you and your world a little more clearly. Let us work together for peace. Amen.
Rev. Patrick D. Heery is the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, New York, and is the former editor of Presbyterians Today and Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice.
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.