Instruments of Peace

Session 8.48

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Introduction

What does real peace look like? How do we work for peace in our communities and world? What might it mean to be instruments of God’s work of peacemaking?

Scripture: Psalm 122

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’ 
Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

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Nikki’s Notes

Instruments of Peace

We live in a time that is characterized by partisanship, division, and conflict. There are times when it feels like we are unique in time and space because of the extremes to which our divisions can grow. In reality though, we are not unique. There has been conflict for as long as there has been a human race.

We struggle to see the value of conflict in our world. We think if we can subdue arguments or divisiveness, we can create peace. Unfortunately, such peace is superficial and temporary. When there is conflict in a personal relationship or in a whole community, it is important for that conflict to be resolved rather than pushed down.

Conflict does not have be a bad thing. In fact, when people are in conflict with one another, that means that they care deeply about the topic that is causing division. When people care, there is a greater chance of resolution than when they don’t.

Peace will never exist for any of us until there is peace for all people. This means that there can be no peace for anyone without the hard work of justice and reconciliation. If you are feeling compelled to address a conflict or have a hard conversation, but you are avoiding it so you can avoid the uncomfortableness of conflict, I challenge you to let yourself be uncomfortable. You may find it’s not as bad as you thought and you find out that it helps move you and others a little closer to peace and justice.

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Nikki’s Video Script

Instruments of Peace

The text we are considering in today’s session is Psalm 122. As we read this psalm it seems that the author has been invited on a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem. Upon arriving, he is aware of the awesomeness of the place. It is a place with protective walls, it is the place where kings from the line of David have sat on their thrones, it is a place where judgements and justice has been handed out, it is a place of safety.

The psalmist seems encouraged by the opportunity to be in this place. He is expressing gratitude for the journey, and he is praying for peace, for the place and for the sake of his family and friends back home.

The temple was located in the heart of Jerusalem, which was the capital of all the promised land. This means that this place had become for the people of Israel both the political and the religious center. Jerusalem was the place meant to provide justice for the people and the temple was the place that provided guidance for their faith community.

Yet, even as I read these words about this place, I am acutely aware that there are so many places in our world that do not enjoy the strength of the temple walls to keep them safe and or the justice that comes from a fair government. This was true then and it is still true today. There is a sense that the temple provided a picture of what could one day be a reminder of the peace and security that is possible when we live in the ways God has called us to live.

This week, many of us will be celebrating the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is the season of the church year that we practice waiting and anticipating Christ coming again to bring on the new world and the new heaven. It is a time in which we wait with pregnant longing for a time when all the world looks like the place this Psalmist describes. In the waiting time, we are called on to manifest this vision in our lives and as the body of Christ we are called to live together in a way that makes peace and safety happen in our world for all people.

 

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