What does it mean to commit to peace?
Just peacemaking: painfully and patiently
Rev. Raafat L. Zaki
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Reflection: Suffering and injustice are human realties from which some Christians falsely believe they are exempt as a benefit of their faith. At the center of the Gospel is the saving grace revealed on the cross and at the empty tomb. Jesus’ last documented prayer before he died was: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ crucifixion was an act of both religious persecution and political execution targeting an innocent man. Yet Jesus did not waver, even when he felt God had abandoned him.
As Christ’s disciples, we are called to demonstrate Jesus’ love and teachings practically and concretely in our daily lives. Like Jesus, we will suffer the consequences. We may encounter betrayal and opposition from within, from family, from society, and even from the church community. Still we serve faithfully, responding with love and patience.
God calls us to seek righteousness. This is a lifetime journey, and we are works in progress. We are called to be patient as we labor for the truth to be revealed. As Jesus told his disciples before heading to the cross, “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)
Action: Take time today to consider where you face opposition and negative consequences on your Christian journey. Identify three spiritual practices to help you build patience and overcome discouragement.
Prayer: Creator God, thank you for creating me in your holy image. Thank you for calling me to follow Jesus. Thank you for being present in my life. Thank you for your promise never to forsake me, even when I feel alone and forgotten. Thank you for forgiving my sins and for loving me unconditionally. Amen.
Rev. Zaki is a transformational leader in social witness and just-peacemaking. He is a teaching elder and has served in leadership positions with all four councils of the PC(USA). Currently he serves church and society as Synod of the Covenant Executive.
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.