By Rev. Patrick D. Heery
Hebrews 1:1–4, 2:5–12
For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.”
Reflection: What does it mean to receive Communion with the whole world on this day? Will we love each other better? Will we learn to appreciate, celebrate, and understand our differences, such that they are elevated as blessings, rather than denigrated (or erased) as losses?
Jesus on this day is not ashamed to call anyone his brother or sister. That includes our enemies; that includes people different from us; and that includes us. And maybe that last one is the hardest to believe sometimes. Perhaps what often restrains our peacemaking is that we’re not sure we’re worthy of it, capable of it. How can we offer the world peace when we feel nothing like peace within?
On this day, as we receive the sacrifice of Christ’s love, and as we draw this devotional to a close, I invite us to recognize our own need for transformation. And one of the first things we have to change is this whole idea that peace is something we make. Peace isn’t our job. It isn’t a strategy or a project. We do not bring peace to others, just as we do not bring God to others.
Peace, like Communion, is a gift. It is grace, already abundant, already here, just waiting for us to accept it. If peace truly consists of vulnerability, relationship, experience, witness, and practice, then it must be also—and first, and last—a gift.
Today we receive the gift of peace, and we offer it to others. It works in us, so that we may be at peace and become instruments, vessels, channels of that peace.
Action: Experience the gift of Christ’s peace as you celebrate the Sacrament of Communion today. Be a channel of that peace by giving generously to the Peace & Global Witness Offering. Consider those around the world whom you are not ashamed to call sisters and brothers.
Prayer: O God of peace, at all times and in all ways, you give us peace and invite us to share it with others. Accept our gifts of peace and help us be at peace, love mercy, walk humbly, and act justly. Amen.
Rev. Patrick D. Heery is the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, New York, and is the former editor of Presbyterians Today and Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice.
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.