Partners in peace: shaped by those we love
Reverend Abby King-Kaiser
He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
Reflection: At the cross, Jesus looks upon the disciple he loved and his grieving mother and makes them family. This is the moment when, as followers of Christ, we can no longer deny that our most loyal and intimate relationships are challenged to be re-ordered, to be given the grace and the space to look differently than the world expects.
In the last couple of years, I have been invited on a unique study-abroad partnership—a Jesuit university working with a Reformed rabbinical school to study religion and democracy in Israel. At the same time, I work with, learn from, and love a Muslim colleague whose family still carries refugee cards because they were forced out of their homes to make way for the state of Israel.
Standing at the Western Wall, I had a profound conversation with a Reformed rabbi who was born in Jerusalem, about what prayer means in that place. He told me that he didn’t need the wall to seek God. And yet, standing there, in the shadow of the golden dome, I also carried my friend and her family, who can’t travel to the parts of the same land generations called home.
I don’t know what to do with all that—I really don’t. I follow a Christ who calls me to constantly love more, to expand the circles I am in, to see us all as belonging to God, and yet as I do, there are tensions of human history, identity, and worldview that make it a very messy process.
Action: Provide hospitality to someone different from yourself. Maybe it is a dinner invitation, or a birthday card. Maybe you can bake something, or share the last tomatoes from your garden. Be shaped by the love you give and receive.
Prayer: God of peace, help us to build the partnerships that will make your vision for our communities real. Give us the courage we need to wade into the mess and the love we need to turn strangers into neighbors and neighbors into family. Amen.
Reverend Abby King-Kaiser is a teaching elder, a mother of two, and a campus minister at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sees the world in pictures, which is most often translated via Instagram even though painting is more fun.
Central is hosting international peacemaker from Palestine, Alex Awad as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking program. Please join us on Sunday, September 30 and Thursday, October 4 when he will speak about interfaith dialogue in Israel and Palestine. Get more information HERE.