Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
Reflection: Nonviolence can be thought of as both a means and an end. It is an end in that it refers to the world we long for—a world free from violence and war, free from hunger and poverty, free from injustice and oppression, and full of God’s love and healing. Jesus called it “the kingdom of God”; Martin Luther King, Jr., called it “the beloved community”; and Walter Wink called it “the domination-free order.” Nonviolence also can be thought of as a means in two ways: as a technique for engaging in conflict and as an ethic or philosophy for living one’s life.
There is a clear predilection for nonviolence in both the example and teaching of Jesus and in the practice of the early church.
Question for discernment: How could the PC(USA) do a more effective job of teaching nonviolence to its members? What other characteristics would mark a “peace church” stance in today’s world?
Prayer: Christ, you are our peace. You break down the walls that divide us. You remove the hostility between us. You make us one. May we build up the church to be a community of peace and reconciliation, reflective of your nonviolent witness.