A Moment for Mission
“Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell.Be restored; listen to my appeal; agree with one another; live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” — 2 Corinthians 13:11, NRSVUE
If you’ve ever been involved in Girl Scouts, you probably know the song “Peace I Ask of Thee, O River.” The lyrics speak of serenity, courage and “strength to lead and faith to follow.”
Whether we realize it or not, God gives us all of those things, and God expects us to share them with others. Perhaps the most familiar scriptural passage about peace is the beatitude[A1] : “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NRSVUE).
Around the world, people long for peace as they struggle with decades-long conflicts, economic turmoil and the devastating effects of climate change. Gripping headlines bring us news of distant places—Ukraine, Turkey, Syria—and the list grows bigger every day.
Our United Methodist Social Principles (Par. 165.D) empower and encourage us to promote peace: “Persons and groups must feel secure in their life and right to live within a society if order is to be achieved and maintained by law. We denounce as immoral an ordering of life that perpetuates injustice and impedes the pursuit of peace. People and nations feel secure in the world community when law, order, and human rights are respected and upheld.”
The United Methodist Church endorses the United Nations, which currently assists peacekeeping operations in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Central America and the Middle East.
The Social Principles reflect the words of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley: “We reaffirm our historic concern for the world as our parish and seek for all persons and peoples full and equal membership in a truly world community.”
On the First Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday. Today, United Methodists collect a special offering that benefits peace with justice ministries in the annual conference and around the world.
Peace with Justice Sunday is a faithful expression of shalom in the Bible and an opportunity to witness to God’s demand for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.
Today is Peace with Justice Sunday. Have you ever heard someone say “world peace”? We find—and need—peace in many places, including our own community.
We can share peace in so many ways. One way is by being kind to others. Another is by ignoring gossip: “Did you hear that Elizabeth cheated on the math test?” Gossip is conversation about other people that may or may not be true.
Forgiving someone is another way to be peaceful. When we stay mad at another person, it usually makes us feel worse instead of better.
When we care about the world around us, we show peace. We can do something as easy as picking up a candy wrapper and tossing it in the trash or a bigger job like helping to plant a tree.
What does it mean to be “courteous”? It’s being polite—saying “please” and “thank you.” In the Bible (Mark 12:31, MSG), Jesus said, “Love others as well as you love yourself.” That’s not always easy, especially when people can be mean and unloving to us.
We share peace by learning about and meeting people of other cultures and respecting their traditions. Some people may look different from you, but you may find that they love many of the same things you enjoy.
A great idea for feeling peaceful is by creating a quiet corner in your room or your home. Gather a few pillows or find a comfy chair and relax. Read a good book or listen to your favorite music. And invite others to use that space.
Peace with Justice is more than one Sunday in the year. It’s a way to live every single day.
Let’s talk about this:
- What does the word peace mean to you?
- The word justice is not as familiar. It means being fair in all we do. How do you show justice?
- How do you try to live peacefully?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
Serenity Prayer, attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
From Discipleship Ministries: Trinity Sunday — God of all creation, we offer our gifts in gratitude this morning – not just for what you do in our lives, but for who you are in our lives. You are with us in the person of the Father, the God above us. You come to meet us as the Son, as God beside us. You empower us to do the work of kingdom-building by the Holy Spirit -- God within us, providing strength and boldness that we would never find on our own. May these gifts be tools that make the transformation of the world a reality. We pray in the name of one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Matthew 28:16-20)
During the war in Vietnam, many musicians wrote songs alluding to peace. In 1959, Pete Seeger, inspired by the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, composed the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).” Six years later, the Byrds turned it into a folk classic. The lyrics spoke of hope: “A time to gain, a time to lose / A time to rend, a time to sew / A time for love, a time for hate / A time for peace.” Decades later, that message still resonates with reality: Indeed, there is a time for everything, and despite our struggles, peace will come.
Six years later, John Lennon invited his fans to “imagine all the people living life in peace.” In perhaps his most significant contribution to the peace movement he embraced, Lennon described vividly what it would be like to live in a world joined together in peace. He invited us to question our values and understandings of the world and to imagine a simpler, more peaceful one.
Today, United Methodists celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday. A special offering benefits peace with justice ministries in the annual conference and around the world.