Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering
Giving and receiving our portion
Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in God.”
Reflection: Today’s text from Lamentations comes from a dark time in Israel’s history, one of sheer devastation as well as political, social, and spiritual upheaval. A great city has been leveled to the ground, with all the hopes, dreams, and possibilities therein.
The tone of this passage resonates with us today. Upheaval, deportation, separation, and divisions have become more painfully common in our time. We know what it means to be ‘bowed down’ in lament as our unity, relationships, and communal stability are being threatened.
On a recent mission trip to Puerto Rico, a group of farmers took us around to see the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. As we toured the farm, our hosts pointed to various clearings and talked wistfully about what used to be there. This once-vibrant land now held barren fields, scattered debris, and painful memories. Even at the mention of the words “Hurricane Maria,” the husband and wife looked into each other’s eyes and began to softly weep. The wife whispered, “We lost so much that we had built together.” As we walked along, the couple shared how support from their neighbors helped sustain them in their devastation. Their community provided strength in a time of lament, rebuilding, and hope.
The authors of Lamentations sing honestly about suffering, but they also sing songs of hope. God’s hope is often found in the love and support of the community of faith. We become one another’s portion —reflections of Christ’s presence in difficult times. Communion reminds us that Christ’s peace sustains us even when things fall apart. Portion is about provision; we are held firmly in God’s hand and given what we need to stay strong. Our portion is found in our relationships with Christ and with one another.
Action: This World Communion Sunday, make the bold and counterintuitive choice to hope. As you celebrate Communion, be ‘portion people’ by caring for others. One of the most profound ways we can do this is by giving generously to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.
Prayer: Loving and providing God, in times of desolation you have been our portion. Amid the world’s chaos, you have called us to hope by calling us to one another. May we feed others as we have been fed good portions of mercy and hope at your table. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Johnson is the Coordinator for the Presbyterian Committee of the Self-Development of People Program (SDOP). Rev. Johnson has experience in pastoral ministry, prison chaplaincy, urban congregational-based organizing, youth education, creative arts, peacemaking, anti-poverty, and social justice ministries.
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.