Partners in peace: shaped by those we love
By Rev. Abby King-Kaiser
He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
Reflection: At the cross, Jesus looks upon the disciple he loved and his grieving mother and makes them family. This is the moment when, as followers of Christ, we can no longer deny that our most loyal and intimate relationships are challenged to be re-ordered, to be given the grace and the space to look differently than the world expects.
In the last couple of years, I have been invited on a unique study-abroad partnership—a Jesuit university working with a Reformed rabbinical school to study religion and democracy in Israel. At the same time, I work with, learn from, and love a Muslim colleague whose family still carries refugee cards because they were forced out of their homes to make way for the state of Israel.
Standing at the Western Wall, I had a profound conversation with a Reformed rabbi who was born in Jerusalem, about what prayer means in that place. He told me that he didn’t need the wall to seek God. And yet, standing there, in the shadow of the golden dome, I also carried my friend and her family, who can’t travel to the parts of the same land generations called home.
I don’t know what to do with all that—I really don’t. I follow a Christ who calls me to constantly love more, to expand the circles I am in, to see us all as belonging to God, and yet as I do, there are tensions of human history, identity, and worldview that make it a very messy process.
Action: Provide hospitality to someone different from yourself. Maybe it is a dinner invitation, or a birthday card. Maybe you can bake something, or share the last tomatoes from your garden. Be shaped by the love you give and receive.
Prayer: God of peace, help us to build the partnerships that will make your vision for our communities real. Give us the courage we need to wade into the mess and the love we need to turn strangers into neighbors and neighbors into family. 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.