“Now may the Lord of peace … give you peace at all times in all ways.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:16
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and give you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” — Matthew 25:37-40
We live in a world that is constantly overwhelming us. Conflict arises in our families and communities. War is waged between nations and discussed in the marketplace. Instability threatens our jobs, savings or even our homes. Natural disasters strike a new place each week. Sickness, homelessness, starvation, abuse and mental illness plague our world. The list goes on.
In stark contrast to this conflict and brokenness all around us are the words of the Apostle Paul: May God grant us “peace at all times in all ways.” Peace in our families, in our work, in our worship, in our communities, in our world and in our minds. That peace is the peace of Christ.
The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together and provides education and exposure to those who do peacemaking work well. It aims to form peacemakers who share and advocate for Christ’s peace in all places and spaces.
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church of Rolling Hills Estates, California, chose in 2017 to use their retained portion of the Peace & Global Witness Offering to support the Matthew 25 Movement. They consider themselves a Matthew 25 Congregation, having pledged “to stand with and defend the vulnerable in the name of Jesus.” The movement focuses on at-risk populations and provides safe space and support for Christian activists.
As a Matthew 25 Congregation, St. Luke’s has committed to pray for vulnerable populations, offering resources and opportunities when needed, and collecting stories of the vulnerable. They are one of over 200 churches and Christian organizations who have joined this grassroots effort to bring peace, living into what Jesus says in Matthew 25:40: “Just as you did it to one of the least of these …, you did it to me.”
The work of teaching, sharing and empowering peacemaking and reconciliation works best when a diversity of approaches is taken. Twenty-five percent of the Offering will stay with our congregation to support ministries that proclaim Christ’s peace in our community. Another 25 percent joins with those of other congregations in our region to support peacemaking at a presbytery or synod level. And 50 percent supports the work for peace done by Presbyterians everywhere, including the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
As Presbyterians, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the model of compassion, kindness and grace for every community and individual in this world.
Let us Pray
O God, we come to you seeking peace and wholeness, not only for ourselves and not only for those we know, but for this world full of nations, communities, and individuals burdened with brokenness, conflict and despair. Yet despite this reality, we are inspired by your Spirit to have hope, for you have a plan for this broken world that ends in joy, peace and wholeness. Open our eyes to see where you are already mending and healing. Inspire us to move toward those places where your peace is present so we might be filled with it and empowered to share that peace with others, in your name. And may our every act be modeled after the Prince of Peace, our Savior and great Teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen.