Prayer Calls us to Reconcile and Repair
Peace in Community
Rev. Dr. Ruby Wilson
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother [your sister] has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (“Berean Study Bible”)
Reflection: Our busy lives tend to distract us from doing what is right. Prayer is a critical discipline we can engage in to move toward peace in community. Time in prayer, time at the altar, must be a priority in our lives — especially prayer that calls us to fix things which we have left broken. The ancient prayer moans and groans that “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.” John’s third letter to the beloved Gaius opens with the words: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul” (3 John 1:2).
The time to pray, meditate and be still offers us a blessed opportunity to remember. We remember to be grateful, give thanks, praise God and worship our Creator. But this is all for naught if we fail to reconcile with someone who has something against us. We cannot experience the soul-filled joys of good health, as individuals or in community, if there is a wedge between our souls and our Savior. We cannot find peace in community if we are unable to bridge the gaps of human-made labels, with all the “-isms” and schisms that keep us separated and divided. When we remove ourselves from the cares of this life, even for a little while, to spend time with our Creator in that sacred space, God’s Spirit offers us time to make things right with God. That sweet and sacred time, punctuated with God’s power, also awakens the call in us to make it right with others.
When we practice peace in community, then community becomes a place where friendships can flourish, where common identity can be forged, where common pursuit is possible, and where our individual and communal aspirations can be achieved.
Practice for Peacemakers: Be intentional today about reconciling with family members, with neighbors, and even with those in your local and global communities you may be connected to on social media.
Prayer: Dear God, we ask for the power to love, to love using all that you have equipped us with to love you — with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Give us the power to embrace our divine love of self, a necessary step in following the teaching that we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And though this is tough, give us the power to love our enemies, even those who exploit us on every hand. Teach us to pray. Teach us to practice prayer in our community, empowering us to share your love with all whom we meet, each and every day. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Ruby Wilson is senior pastor of Safe Haven UCC and was recently elected president of the UCC N.Y. Conference’s Metro Association. She serves on the New York Conference UCC Commission on Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, and is also the founder and executive director of JasD’Jor: Emerging Philanthropists, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families of special needs children and training children to use their gifts and talents for service to the world.
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