What does it mean to commit to peace?
Peacemaking through interfaith commuity
Rev. Eric Markman
The Lord is good to all, and God’s compassion is over all that God has made.
Reflection: I serve a multicultural church that has strong relationships with our neighboring Jewish temple and mosque. Three years ago, we worked together to create a large organic garden for our town. Over 50 young people from the mosque, temple and church joined together to prepare the garden beds. We all took turns planting, watering, weeding, and eventually harvesting over 700 pounds of vegetables for our food pantry.
This project has forged deep interfaith relationships. During the bomb threats to Jewish institutions last year, a temple leader called to ask if they could, if need be, shelter in our building. Of course we said yes, and we gave them a key in case of emergency. When the Tree of Life Synagogue was so heinously attacked in Pittsburgh, our session wrote a letter offering to stand outside the temple during their hours of worship. After church, our whole congregation — West African, Chinese, Brazilian, European and India — walked together to deliver the letter as they finished Sunday school. More recently, the temple and our church stood in support of the mosque after the vicious attack in New Zealand, and the mosque and the temple stood with us after the horrible attack in Sri Lanka.
These bonds are built on love and respect. Simply put, we see God in one another.
Action: Isaiah 2:4 says that on the Lord’s mountain, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Who is to build that mountain but us? Take an inventory of the religious communities in your area. Do you know one another, or do you live parallel lives? Reach out today to someone from a tradition different from your own. To love one another, we have to know one another first.
Prayer: God, create in us new hearts. Help us see the value of every human being. Help us take chances and see beyond borders and religious groups. Teach us to love and respect all people, to welcome strangers and stand together in this broken world. May we live the joy of your Son’s love into being in this world. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Rev. Markman is pastor of Hartford Presbyterian Church in Natick, MA. He deeply enjoys the ministry and is married to Rev. Cindy Kohlmann.
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, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
- What does it mean to commit to Peace?
- Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
- Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
- Making peace by ending violence
- Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
- Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering
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 1, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 6.