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Presbyterians Today’s Lenten devotional takes readers on a journey to peace and wholeness

‘The Way to Shalom’ starts Feb. 17 with Ash Wednesday and continues daily through Easter Sunday

by Donna Frischknecht Jackson, Presbyterians Today| Special to Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Grant Whitty via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — The season of Lent begins on Feb. 17 with the somber Ash Wednesday reminder that “from dust you came and from dust you shall return.”

But according to the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Associate Director of Advocacy for the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the director of the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., Lent is not just a time of penitence or “time to wallow in worry about God’s wrath.”

“It is a time of reflection on what God has done to redeem us and how we can live a whole and full life as a child of God,” said Hawkins, who is one of the authors of the 2021 Presbyterians Today’s online Lenten devotional, “The Way to Shalom.”

Working with the theme of shalom, the Hebrew word for “peace,” Hawkins is joined by his advocacy colleagues — Catherine Gordon, associate for international issues; the Rev. Christian Brooks, representative for domestic poverty issues; Sue Rheem, representative to the United Nations from the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations; and Ivy Lopedito, a mission specialist for the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations — as they explore the paths to healing and wholeness, both locally and globally.

“In the Bible, ‘shalom’ can be translated as peace, but also translated as tranquility, security, well-being, health, welfare, completeness and safety. How we can receive this gift of shalom and, in turn, bestow it upon the world?” said Hawkins. “We live in a world in desperate need of peace. The United States has just come out of a contentious election, a struggle with a global pandemic and grappling with racial violence.”

the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins (Photo by Rich Copley)

“Poverty, misery and despair fill many corners of the world,” Hawkins said. “Violence holds a vicious grip on the lives of many. We desire peace. We need peace. We must pray — and work — for peace here in the United States as well as in other parts of the world. The need for peace is a global one, and this devotional will raise awareness of our brothers and sisters who are living in areas around the world that are filled with conflict and strife.”

Each week, “The Way to Shalom” will introduce one of the many definitions of shalom. Readers are invited to begin the week by reflecting on the theme before beginning to read each day’s devotional. In addition to the daily reflections, Presbyterians Today invites readers to create their own visual reminder of the importance of praying for peace by using strips of fabric and a fabric marker, writing prayers for peace on the strips and then attaching the prayers to a tree in the yard, a fence or even a railing on the steps of homes. The fabric, blowing in the wind, will become a witness out in the community that peace is possible and that it begins with each one of us.

Read “The Way to Shalomby clicking here.

 Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today.

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