As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Reflection: During the past 20 years, the academic field of peacemaking and conflict transformation has taken off. Peace and conflict studies programs in colleges and universities have been established in increasing numbers across the United States and around the world. There are now about 400 such programs globally, several in the 66 colleges and universities affiliated with the PC(USA). Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have proliferated, helping to strengthen civil society. Think tanks, research centers, and foundations, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the US Institute of Peace, the International Crisis Group, Search for Common Ground, and the Oxford Research Group, have developed innovative methods of conflict analysis and intervention. More than one thousand organizations work explicitly on peace and conflict issues globally.
Methods of conflict prevention, conflict management, diplomatic peacemaking, and post-conflict peace building have been developed significantly. We have seen a greater acceptance of alternative dispute resolution in the international community as well as the creation of the International Criminal Court. More conflicts are being ended through negotiation rather than through victory by one adversary over another. More post-conflict countries are forming truth and reconciliation commissions. Civil society and women, in particular, are increasingly seen as important actors in peace building.
Question for discernment: Is there something you would like to learn that might make it easier for you to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart?
Prayer: O God, teach us to be your faithful people. Give us wisdom to know the things that make for peace. Show us how to love and forgive one another. And may all that we say and all that we do be done in the name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks and praise to you.