Peacemaking and practice: accepting change
By Rev. T. Denise Anderson
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon,
and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Reflection: And the people murmured: “That’s Mary and Joseph’s boy. Who’s he supposed to be?”
Jesus had a tricky relationship with his home. The old adage says, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” which can be true. But perhaps the true reason they were so hard on Jesus was because he was inviting them to change. He was calling for a radical shift in how people related to God and to each other. They may have thought, “If we were good enough for you growing up, why should we change now? Are you suddenly better than the rest of us?”
The text says that, because of their unbelief, Jesus could perform no miracles in their presence. What little he did was much less than what he was capable of doing.
When we deny the comfort and identity of “home” to others, we miss out on their gifts and on opportunities to use our own gifts. To deny our siblings is to deny ourselves.
True peace isn’t comfort; it’s not maintaining the status quo. You can’t have peace if some people — and their gifts, and their stories, and their visions — are left out. True peace means accepting the one who comes home to change us.
Action: Consider the ways we bristle at the changes that come with relationships with those who are both different from and familiar to us. What change do you need to let into your life today?
Prayer: Holy One, help us welcome the transformative power of relationship. Amen.
Rev. T. Denise Anderson is the Coordinator for Racial and Intercultural Justice with the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. She served as the co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
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.