A Season of Peace: Thursday, October 3, 2019

Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants

Hearers and doers

Rev. Dr. Robert B. Woodruff

Matthew 7:24

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.”

Reflection: Our church was recently asked to be a long-term host site providing transitional housing for transgender women granted asylum or temporary release in the United States. My initial thought was: “We just might be able to do it.” Jesus’ pedagogy in today’s passage is succinct: We can’t just be hearers; we must also be doers. With conviction, Jesus exhorts that our actions must correspond to our words. When they do, we wisely build our faith on a stable foundation.

While our church possesses ideal space and hosting seemed the ‘Christian’ thing to do, the decision to welcome and support such vulnerable immigrants was not easily made. The chasm that often exists between words and practice was on my mind as our session considered the request. Our church is multicultural and bilingual, so many in the community have a heightened sociocultural awareness — but no one in our community has had to seek asylum, and no one openly identifies as transgender.

After three months of prayer and discussion, we committed to act on Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger. It has brought out the best in our congregation. As we get to know sisters from other parts of the world and serve them in God’s name, we have become less focused on the program’s impact on us and more focused on those whom we are called to serve. By doing and not just hearing Christ’s call, our congregation has gained a new sense of being planted on solid ground.

Action: Take time today to research the reality of a vulnerable population that has been in the news. Read their first-hand accounts and stories. Come up with one action step of how you can help: donate, volunteer, or pray.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to speak verbosely with our actions. Fill us with your Spirit and inspire us with your Word to engage others with love — that not our will, by thy will be done. Amen.


Rev. Dr. Woodruff is Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, NM. He holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. He served as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Guatemala in 2000.


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:

  1. What does it mean to commit to Peace?
  2. Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
  3. Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
  4. Making peace by ending violence
  5. Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
  6. 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.

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