February 22, 2021
Shalom: The Way to Justice (Week 1)
Peace for indigenous people
"Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace — in peace because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

It is God who keeps us in perfect peace. While perfection is beyond human capacity, we trust in God’s ability to provide grace and forgiveness when we err. It is the power of God that brings perfect peace which is a blessing in our daily living. It is bestowed when we trust in God’s love and mercy.

The word for peace in Lakota is wolakota. According to the 2010 census, 5.2 million people or about 2% of the U.S. population identifies as American Indian or Alaskan Native. The government has legally binding obligations to the tribes that have been systematically violated with devastating consequences for life expectancy, political participation and economic opportunities in Indian Country.

Representative Debra Haaland is making American history. The 60-year-old congresswoman from New Mexico is the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history as the new head of the Department of the Interior under President Joe Biden. She is a member of the Laguna Pueblo, one of 574 sovereign tribal nations located across 35 states. She stated that as secretary of the interior she would “move climate change priorities, tribal consultation and a green economic recovery forward.”

So many people have never experienced the gift of ongoing peace. Their lives have been burdened by oppression, violations and exploitation from those who should have protected them from harm. God’s call is that we acknowledge what has gone wrong in the past and work to correct it today. Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life, died a sacrificial death and rose again to make right that which was wrong.

Pray
God of peace and justice, move our hearts and guide our actions to be in line with your word. Your word promises inner peace expressed through outward actions. Your native children demand justice. Enable us to stand by their side to see that your will is done. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
About the authors of "The Way to Shalom: A Lenten Journey to Peace and Wholeness" from Presbyterians Today (PCUSA): The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., is joined by colleagues Catherine Gordon, associate for international issues; Christian Brooks, representative for domestic poverty issues; Sue Rheem, representative for the United Nations; and Ivy Lopedito, a mission specialist for the United Nations, in writing this year’s devotional. The Office of Public Witness is the denomination’s advocate and social witness in Washington, D.C. Learn more.
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