Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
Integrity at home
Rev. Rachel Shepherd
I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.
Reflection: This psalm asks a perennial human question: “When shall I attain the way that is blameless? Also known as: How are we to live as children of God?” I know I’ve asked this question before; maybe you have, too. We see the brokenness in ourselves, our communities, and the world. We see God’s children in poverty, and we see the systems that keep them there. We see predatory lending, an unlivable minimum wage, gentrification, the school-to-prison pipeline, student loans, medical debt … the list goes on. When shall we attain the way that is blameless? How long, O Lord? How do we study it? How do we live it?
The answer is right there. We don’t attain the blameless way by studying it. We attain the way that is blameless when we walk with integrity of heart in our own houses. It’s a counterintuitive truth — and an incomplete one. Too often, in our eagerness to make a big difference, we forget that small differences add up. None of us can single-handedly change the world, but we can all change our circles of influence, our houses. Those circles, when they overlap and combine, add up to the world. It’s not the whole answer to economic justice, but it’s a solid place to start. We are called to act with integrity to make ethical purchases that don’t put or keep people in poverty, to work for local laws that create and maintain abundance rather than scarcity, to look each other in the eye and see the face of God looking back. This is how we will find the way that is blameless.
Action: Today, look for one small change you can make in your own house that will contribute to a more economically just world. Who benefits from the coffee you purchase? The clothes you buy? The food you eat? Today, commit to make one change to walk with integrity within your house.
Prayer: Dear God, we are impatient. We want to know when we’ll get there! When will everyone have what they need? When will we find the secret that makes it all work? We know that you are impatient, too — impatient with us. Please give us the energy, intelligence, imagination and love to do your work in your name, embracing our own neediness and meeting people in theirs. Amen.
Rev. Shepherd is Associate Presbyter for Discipleship in the Presbytery of the Peaks. She bakes occasionally, writes when possible, and always wonders what her dog is thinking.
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.