As we continue the season of Lent, APC invites you to enjoy this special Lenten devotional series from Presbyterians Today (PCUSA) entitled
The Way to Shalom: A Lenten Journey to Peace and Wholeness.
March 28, 2021
Shalom: The Way to Reconciliation (Week 6)

Reflect
Our Lenten journey to the ways of shalom has brought us to the final week — Holy Week. It is a week that starts with the triumphal entry into the Holy City where soon the cheering crowds will become jeering crowds no longer praising Jesus but condemning him. How quickly the tide can turn. And yet, as the week ends with the cross of Good Friday and the tears of grief filling our Holy Saturday, joy will return. Resurrection Sunday comes and we are reminded that in Christ, God was reconciling the world. As we journey through Holy Week exploring the theme of reconciliation, think of the hurts, grudges and hatred that need to be nailed to the cross and laid to rest in a “tomb.” Think about the healing power of reconciliation and where you have seen it in your life.

Add to your peace prayer “tree”
Each day during Holy Week, think about the hope we have in the promise of the resurrection and add prayers to your tree, railing or fence; make them prayers for the “new” things you are hoping for in your life.
Let our voices shout out

"Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."  Isaiah 1:17

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”  Luke 19:38–40

As Christians, we have a biblical mandate to seek justice by speaking out against systems of oppression that exploit, dehumanize and abuse people. Just as Jesus spoke against corruption in society, so must we. But what does this call look like when it interferes with our understanding of peace? Those who greeted Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey, not a powerful war horse that Roman soldiers rode on, misunderstood the peace God was seeking to bring into the world.
Society has taught us that peace is the absence of conflict. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines societal peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet such as freedom from civil disturbance.” Unfortunately, this understanding of peace does not consider the inequities of society that call for us to speak up, not to remain silent so that the proverbial boat will not be rocked. The Pharisees wanted silence from the people. They wanted silence from Jesus. But peace doesn’t come from staying silent. Staying silent only perpetuates a system that maintains the tranquility of the privileged. Is that really peace?
 As we begin Holy Week, we must ponder two questions: Can there be peace in the world with no justice? And will it be our voices crying out or will the stones have to shout for us?

Pray
Lord, guide us this Holy Week on our journey for justice. Help us understand the true meaning of peace. Strengthen our voices so that we continue speaking up for what is right. 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.
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