Season of Peace Reflection for 9/21

He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Reflection: At the individual and community levels, there are new models for engaging in active peacemaking and working for justice, including the use of social media technologies for advocacy and organizing, nonviolent communication, consensus decision-making processes, restorative justice, nonviolent accompaniment, conflict resolution techniques, artistic expressions, and methods of church-based community organizing.

As followers of Jesus, we are obligated to examine the common acceptance of and even reliance on violence as a response to conflict and to consider exploring and risking nonviolent alternatives. The founding document of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program also said that “the church must struggle against the cynicism that regards [the pursuit of peace] as idealistic rather than realistic. It must find a central purpose in the intention to make peace. Peacemaking is an indispensable ingredient of the church’s mission. It is not peripheral or secondary but essential to the church’s faithfulness to Christ in our time.” The fact is that church-based initiatives have had demonstrably successful results, appealing to the best in individuals and groups, and finding God present and full of new life.

Question for discernment: How can the PC(USA) hasten the day when war and violence are no longer considered acceptable or inevitable means for resolving conflicts? What are the best means for providing protection and security?

Prayer: God, send us out to bring peace to a warring world. Give us courage to cast out the demons of violence and injustice. Empower us to reach out to the victimized and wounded with your healing touch.

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