The Challenge of Peacemaking
Living Lives of Peace
As I write this blog aid trucks have just passed through the Rafah Border Crossing from Egypt into Gaza bringing humanitarian supplies to this war torn community. Pundits say that this initial amount of supplies is simply a drop in the bucket of an ocean of despair. Hopefully, it is just the beginning of an ongoing caravan carrying food, medicine, water and fuel to the desperate people of Palestine.
Reflecting upon this horrific situation of war, fear, violence, and desperation, I wonder as a person of faith what my response should be as I view this conflict from afar? To this point I am reminded of a passage I wrote a few years ago in my book The Passionate Bride:
If Christ is the Prince of peace, then we as his followers are called to live lives of peace. Thomas Merton describes this transformational relationship in these daring words: “Christ did not come to bring peace to this world ‘as a kind of spiritual tranquilizer’; rather he gave to his disciples ‘a vocation and a task, to struggle in the world of violence to establish his peace not only in their own hearts but in society itself.”’ The author Robert King complements Merton’s voice with the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Thich Nhat Hanh, “Only by being peace can we hope to make peace in the world. (Davey, The Passionate Bride)
I’m underscoring two points here. One: Merton encourages us to first establish peace in our own hearts even as we attempt to establish societal peace. Two: Thich Nhat Hanh observes that we can only bring peace to others when we are at peace with ourselves. I believe the truth of these eminent sages is right on—to establish peace externally we must be at peace internally. Otherwise the cycle of terror continues under the banner of the atheism of violence.
We must be at peace to pass peace along. It’s as simple and as hard as that. So from our present place of safety can we consider the question: Are we sowing peace or stirring the pot of violence in our own hard-hearted (and headed) world?
The Sunday School Collective photo above models a possibility: three levels of peace are passed along from mother to daughter to doll. Thoughts?
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