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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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September 22, 2013

Season of Peace Reflection for 9/22

1 John 2:7–11

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.

Reflection: The structural violence of injustice and oppression often leads to the violence of revolt and rebellion that then leads to the retaliatory violence of government repression, which then only compounds the structural violence of injustice and oppression and leads to further revolt followed by yet more repression. This dynamic is the spiral of violence, to which Martin Luther King, Jr., referred when he said: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. . . . Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” (Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community, Harper & Row, 1967).

Question for discernment: What might it look like to love one’s enemies instead of hating them?

Prayer: God of love and light, help us to love all people—even our enemies—as brothers and sisters. Show us the way to go, that we may walk in your light. We pray for the dawning of a new day when the spiral of violence will be broken.

Categories: Peace

Tags: peace, peacemaking, special offerings


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