Peacemaking and practice: to save life or to destroy it?
By Hyeyoung Lee
Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath,
to save life or to destroy it?”
Reflection: The reason we keep talking about peace is because the world we live in is not peaceful. The news we hear every day is filled with violence, war, and conflict. Sometimes it seems easier or more comfortable to remain in conflict because the process of achieving peace can be messy. Korea has been in a state of war for 65 years since the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, which means the peninsula has remained in a tense state of armed truce ever since. In many ways, it is hard to imagine what peace and reconciliation would look like for the Korean peninsula since it’s been in conflict for so long. However, we in the church have witnessed many Koreans diligently talking about the peacemaking process, acting to build a peaceful relationship, and making efforts to end the war, hoping for unification. Even though the path to get there may be messy, it is the only way to save life and do good (Luke 6:9). Through this passage, Jesus is inviting us to practice saving lives and doing good on any given day, so that we can respond to his invitation as we stretch out our hand.
Action: Let us reflect on this question. When the invitation from Jesus comes to us on any given day, do we have the courage to respond to Jesus by stretching out our hand as the person with the withered hand did?
Prayer: God of peace, help us to light the candles of peace in our hearts every day. Sometimes it becomes a small light to peacefully soothe my mind. Sometimes it becomes a torch that strengthens passion and courage. Sometimes it becomes a candle that spreads a calming and gentle fragrance to others. Amen.
Hyeyoung Lee is a mission co-worker living in Korea with her husband, Kurt Esslinger, who also is a mission co-worker, and their five-year-old son. She mainly works as a coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer program in Korea. Hyeyoung is a native Korean who received her M.Div. at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
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 divides
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.