March 29, 2021
Shalom: The Way to Reconciliation (Week 6)
Seeking reconciliation when hope seems lost

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18

When we read this verse within Scripture, I think we can all agree that yes, if it is possible, our greatest goal is to live peaceably with all. This is something that so many of us strive for, but when we look around us it sometimes feels like an impossible feat.
We see political parties consistently in conflict with each other. We see movements trying to change systemic problems, but these movements are always greeted by opposition. This whole goal of living peaceably seems pretty impossible when we are at odds with our families and neighbors in ways we may never have been before. Even in his last week of life on Earth, Jesus had a less than peaceable moment: overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple.

 The conflicts and injustices of the world do their best to bring us down. In these moments, I turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s a speech that was spoken during a time when the dream Dr. King had was nowhere near the reality that he was living in. Even though his surroundings seemed grim, his speech was filled with hope for equality, justice, unity, peace, and overall reconciliation.

Let us remember when things seem to be crumbling around us, as they seemed especially to be for Jesus’ followers as his last week of earthly life unfolded, nothing is too great for our God. Let us keep that dream of peace alive even when the darkness seems overpowering.

God of peace, we look around and it is sometimes hard to find hope. We pray that even when we don’t see it, that we can be people who call forth hope — hope for peace and reconciliation — in a world that so gravely needs it. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
About the authors:
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.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009