Partners in peace: breaking the rules
By Rev. Abby King-Kaiser
After looking around at all of them, Jesus said to him, “Stretch out your hand.”
He did so, and his hand was restored.
Reflection: We begin this week walking with Jesus on the Sabbath. He teaches, and is watched by those who are the real teachers. He heals the man who needs it, despite the fact that he’s breaking the rules. He gets side-eyes, scoffs, and grumbles from the peanut gallery, who are now even more motivated to take down this guy who’s shaking up their world.
All of this makes me wonder: How often have I not participated in God’s peace or justice because I was afraid I would break the rules? How many times have I asked myself: What will people think if I strap on my infant and go to an Occupy event? What will people think if my four-year-old is holding my hand at a Black Lives Matter rally? Perhaps I should be wondering what they will think if I am not doing these things.
Working in ministry primarily with people of another faith means that I often have to reconsider the boundaries imposed by our society, even our theology. I was the advisor to the Muslim Student Association for four years; I work at a Jesuit University; and my first adjunct teaching gig was on a team with three Jewish men.
Yet, in all those places, I have found not just rich learning, but also growth towards God. The 20 minutes of praying alongside our Muslim students each week were often my most peaceful. And I wonder if breaking the rules was a part of what brought me peace.
Action: Ask someone whose faith is different from your own what peace means to them. Ask: How does that grow out of your values? What does reconciliation look like?
Prayer: Lead me in your justice, O Lord, that I might worry less about the rules, and worry more about making your beloved community real. Amen.
Rev. Abby King-Kaiser is a teaching elder, a mother of two, and a campus minister at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sees the world in pictures, which is most often translated via Instagram even though painting is more fun.
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.