Peace that the Earth Can Give
Job 12: 7–9
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” (NRSV)
Reflection: The story of Job acknowledges that our walk with the Creator is not comfortable at all times. Throughout our lives, we have experienced and can expect more times of hardship and uncertainty. We experience injustice and betrayal, no matter how hardworking, loving or “good” we try to be. There are times when we pray to the Creator to guide us, and yet still feel lonely and unheard — as though God wished pain upon us. But we are reminded through scripture that we can connect to the Creator in any place and at any time. Even as everything around us screams, “Wrong!” there are constant signs of purpose everywhere. Sometimes, we just need to listen to what the Creation surrounding us can teach.
Finding inner peace is not just relying on God to find us and fix all our problems. When we turn to our environment, and all the living spirits that surround us, we can find the strength and inner peace we are looking for — long before wrongs are made right. Even in this world full of calamity and chaos, finding inner peace is a skill that can be built by living in harmony with the Earth and all the creations within it.
Sometimes the answers we are searching for in the midst of chaos may come in forms we often overlook in our day-to-day lives. When we are being tested and find ourselves in troubled waters, calling for help, the guidance we are looking for may be in the water itself. The Creator is always present: within us, around us and even in the ground beneath us. When you feel unheard, uncertain and lonely, remember that God may be answering your prayers through the nature that surrounds you.
Practice for Peacemakers: When was the last time you stopped and listened to the birds speaking their language? What were they saying? When the sun is hiding behind billows of clouds, and the rain is pouring, how do you connect to God? This week, take the time to be still, listen and find peace and strength from the Earth that surrounds you.
Prayer: Creator God, thank you for all your creations. Remind us that the whole Earth is your church, and that your spirit reaches far beyond the bounds of our physical places of worship, though we often do not recognize you. Thank you for being present in many forms, and for remaining accessible in our darkest moments. Amen.
Madison McKinney belongs to the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate Tribe and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Madison is an ordained elder at First Presbyterian Church, Lawrence, KS. She is an elected member of the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, PC(USA), and serves as its liaison to the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy.
This year’s Season of Peace Resources are designed to help participants explore practices for building peace on every scale. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Throughout the 29 days of the 2020 Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
Week 1 September 6–12: Peace Within
Week 2 September 13–19: Peace in Relationships
Week 3 September 20–26: Peace in Community
Week 4 September 27–October 3: Peace in the World
Final Day October 4: Holistic Peacemaking