You shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace.
Isaiah 55:12a (ESV)
The author of Isaiah 55 is speaking to a people in exile and explaining to them what they can hope to do and to be once that exile is done. He is extolling them to keep hope and faith in a difficult time because of God’s presence and action in their lives. I wonder what it sounded like to those exiled folks.
For people in poverty, a voice of hope can sound like a lie or something unattainable because of the circumstances of daily life that are without the necessary resources for thriving. For people of color a voice speaking this sort of hope might be unbelievable because it is not a reality in life now. For those who face poverty or racism in daily life, there are many needs that go unmet because of lack of access or discrimination. When poverty and racism meet, things are compounded and even more difficult. Singing a song of joy might seem completely out of the realm of possibility.
Our hope is that living into Jesus’ command to love will alleviate poverty and end racism. For those of us with the privilege of wealth or of whiteness this love means we must be willing to name our privilege and use it to assist those who have neither. For all of us living Jesus’ command means we will one day live to “go out with joy and be led forth in peace” in a world where poverty and racism are no more.
Action: Read some stories of the PC(USA) Committee on Self-Development of People and the impact this work has in helping many people of color overcome poverty and share a story in your community.
Prayer: God of the marginalized, put feet to our prayers and lead us to lift up and listen to voices that are not being heard. Help us to use whatever power and privilege we may possess to create a better world for all. Amen.
The Rev. Jessica Dixon is a transitional pastor/intentional interim serving Old Tennent Presbyterian Church in Manalapan, New Jersey. She is a transitional ministry teacher, and on the Team of Three (leadership team) for the Transitional Ministry Education Consortium. She has served as transitional pastor to churches in Chicago Presbytery, Indian Nations Presbytery (Norman, Oklahoma) and now in the new Presbytery of the Coastlands. A native of Denver and a graduate of McCormick Seminary, she has loved all the places she has had a chance to see and the ways she has had a chance to serve.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism