Making peace by ending violence
A time to pause
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For the insolent have risen against me,
the ruthless seek my life; they do not set God before them. Selah
Reflection: I’ve had the privilege to witness and admire the work of a variety of ministries and movements advocating for peace, justice, and equity. Like many who are invested in this type of work, I know that the journey of advocacy — while full of empowerment and boldness — is also filled with regular discouragement. One day we take a great step forward; the next morning feels like two steps back. Often our efforts feel so small compared to the enormity of the powers that be. Trusting God’s purposes is the faithful thing to do, but it’s difficult when we see such meager results.
We know how it feels to cry out, and we know that after a pause, things feel better. The selah, or pause, in Psalm 54:3 is often overlooked, but it may be the key to the psalm — what makes it possible for the psalmist to trust and praise God in vv. 4-7.
The same is true for our advocacy. A pause gives us time to reflect and take a deep breath. Despite what our fast-paced culture teaches us, stopping our work for a moment is not counter-productive. Sometimes the break needs to be longer, and sometimes the break has to wait. However, that pause may be just what we need to breathe in the hope to continue.
Action: When we’re caught up in the busyness of life, taking a pause can seem like a huge luxury. Today, intentionally identify a time to pause, take a deep breath, and look out a window. It doesn’t matter when or how we make this space. What matters is that we create an intentional time to hear where God is calling us next.
Prayer: God, let us hear your voice in the midst of fear and frustration. Let us identify more selah in our daily and busy lives. We truly want to affirm our trust in you. Amen.
Michelle Muñiz serves as the Disaster Recovery Coordinator for the Presbytery of San Juan (Presbiterio de San Juan) in Puerto Rico. While providing support to their 15 congregations as they recover from hurricanes Irma and María, she also coordinates projects for volunteers serving in the San Juan area through the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).
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.