Woodland Park Press
Publication of Woodland Park Presbyterian Church
From the Pastor…..
During the month on September, we joined PCUSA churches nation-wide in celebrating “A Season of Peace”. I have to admit that, when I first read about the suggestion to join in this celebration, my first reaction was an internal (or maybe an actual) eye roll. It wasn’t really a reaction to the PCUSA’s suggestion—it was a reaction to the word “peace”. The word itself is used so often and for so many different purposes and agendas that it has almost lost its meaning.
Fortunately, the suggestions for how to go about celebrating this “Season of Peace” helped to address that very issue. The season will culminate with the collection of the Peace and Global Witness offering on World Communion Sunday on October 4. Each Sunday leading up to the collection of the special offering has focused on a different area of peace-making work that the offering supports: peace in the family and nonviolence in our households, peace in the neighborhood and community, peace through human rights, and peace through systemic change. By focusing on the different areas for which this offering is used, we’ve also had the opportunity to nuance the words “peace” and “peacemaking”.
The Hebrew word “shalom” and the Greek word “eirene” are often translated simply as “peace”. Both words are sometimes used to mean the cessation of violence but their meaning is broader than that—they’re also used to communicate a sense of wholeness and well-being. In the Bible, this is often related to restored relationships between God and people and restored relationship among people, individually and corporately (Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Vol. 4, p. 422). In a Biblical sense, peace is about the holistic well-being of individuals and relationships. Given that definition, I guess it should be no surprise that—even though each week of the “Season of Peace” focused on a different area of peacemaking ministry—I’ve felt a bit like a broken record in my preaching because each week’s lectionary texts seem to speak so clearly about corporate responsibility for communal well-being.
When we celebrate World Communion on Oct 4, we celebrate the fact that Christians all over the world are celebrating communion on the same day, but we also celebrate world-wide relationship and the hope we share for the communal well-being of God’s kin-dom. As we worship together, I pray that will be the peace we seek.
In prayer for the wholeness of God’s peace,