What does it mean to commit to peace?
Finding God in the pause
Susan Keil Smith
I waited patiently for the Lord; God inclined to me and heard my cry.
Reflection: When I reflect on this Psalm, I recognize that patience and peacefulness are intertwined. The psalmist says, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Do I? Can I? Practicing mindfulness reminds me that waiting for God’s time can be challenging, particularly in this fast-paced world. Yet, it is waiting that makes room for God’s spirit to move.
When I worked in early childhood education, I would often remind children (and adults) to “stop, take a breath, and relax” before responding. That practice takes practice, but oh how important it is. Behaviorally, a pause allows us to step away from strong emotions and regain perspective. Theologically, a pause invites God’s presence into the situation.
The psalmist continues, “Here I am.” I have come into the presence of God, and I have waited patiently. Here I am, God. Use me to bring peace to this situation. I cannot make the peace, but God can.
“May all who seek God rejoice and be glad.” The psalm ends, and I feel a sense of peace flow over my anxious moments. May it be so.
Action: Practicing mindfulness is a discipline. Today, give it a try. Take a breath. Feel the breath. Inhale the life-giving air; let go. Ask God to take charge.
Prayer: Holy and kind God, may I allow my life to capture your presence in each situation that I encounter this day. May I be a living vessel of God’s love with all I see, speak, and do. Amen.
Susan Keil Smith lives in Albuquerque, NM, and has been a member of First Presbyterian church for 43 years, coming from New York where she was at Marble Collegiate Church. She is an ordained elder and active deacon, working for justice and safe church awareness in addition to her commitment to Presbyterian Women and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
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.