Go and see: the power of love
By Rev. Kirk P. Perucca
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Reflection: It’s a beautiful and powerful statement of God’s love for this world—that God sent his only Son, for us. We respond to God’s love by serving as committed stewards of God’s world. Nowhere is more unique and beautiful than Madagascar; yet it is a land that has seen its tropical forests diminished by over 90 percent since humans first arrived on the island.
When the opportunity came up, through the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, to visit Madagascar, it was a chance to see a distant land and to learn about the environmental crisis gripping the country. The trip would expose me to how Presbyterian mission promotes peacemaking and environmental justice in the island nation. I love that Presbyterian mission reflects God’s love of this world and that that love is demonstrated through mission coworkers working as partners with local denominations.
In Madagascar the partner denomination is the FJKM, the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar. I’m so grateful that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) respects the leadership and mission of partner churches. The FJKM has 6 million members, with 60 percent of the members under the age of 24. Our mission coworkers Dan and Elizabeth Turk work with the FJKM to reforest the nation. They do this by providing newly ordained pastors with 10 seedlings for their new congregations. Currently, according to the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, if the rate of forest reduction remains at its current level, all of Madagascar’s forests will be lost within 40 years. The FJKM and the Turks are working every day to reverse this projection.
Action: Pray for the people of Madagascar as national elections approach and continue to support the work of Presbyterian co-workers in their ministry.
Prayer: Gracious God, we are grateful for those who serve as colleagues in distant lands and care for your creation. May we celebrate their service as we journey in gratitude. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.
Rev. Kirk P. Perucca serves as pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, a multi-racial congregation with expanding ministries including Covenant Community Health and Wellness Center. He is president of Project Equality, a community program of Kirk Perucca Associates, Inc. He is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Kirk participated in the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s travel study seminar to Madagascar in August 2017.
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.