Wed 16 Sep
CHOOSE PEACE: International Peace Day
Monday September 21st is International Day of Peace. What a beautiful thing! A day dedicated to remember what it means to put our differences aside and give of ourselves for the betterment of others. This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”.
This week I have been thinking of the many ways The Meeting House community is actively engaging in peace. We support global programs through MCC in Southern Africa that focus on peacemaking through conflict resolution and finding new ways forward. Across our sites, The Meeting House partners with local agencies to help establish peace between mainstream demographics and marginalized communities such as inner city youth, the urban poor, and First Nations. Most recently we have seen partnerships develop and strengthen between our own sites as we help refugee families find peace in Canada. The response from those willing to get involved helping refugees, whether by giving financially, of skill or of time, has been overwhelming. It is a great reminder that we all have a part to play. Beautiful things happen when we work together!
When I remember that we each have a role to play in creating a peaceful culture I think of Meeting Housers who are actively engaged in peace. Long-time Meeting Houser, Stephen Jarnick, is the Weekend Service Producer at our Kitchener site. He is also founder of PeaceWorks, a movement to promote peace education among youth. He works with high school students to encourage young minds to understand the importance of peace, while also working with musicians and respected leaders to establish peace between different cultural, religious and ethnic communities. Somehow, he has been able to bring people together for the cause of peace that would otherwise generally not interact due to significant differences.
How is that possible? Because the desire for peace crosses borders, generations and ethnicities. All of us desire to live in a peaceful environment. Our Creator designed us for things that are good, to give love and to receive love. So there’s no surprise that Jesus spoke so often about peace. However, living peacefully in today’s world isn’t always easy. In fact, Jesus spoke of personal sacrifice and of loving your enemies.
An interesting excerpt here highlights some of Stephen’s reflections on Peace and Jesus from the Red Letter Christians blog titled The Lion, The Witch and the War.
My prayer for all Christians is that we’d be brave enough to take Jesus seriously and to do what He asks us to do – live peacefully by loving our enemies, turning the other cheek and doing good to those who hate us, but that will only be possible if we put our trust in God and know that Jesus’ way of peace isn’t intended to be a success strategy, it’s a love strategy. Or perhaps instead of allowing our culture to define “success” for us, we Christians need to redefine it as following Jesus well by loving all people. - Stephen Jarnick
Let’s remember to each do our part. There are opportunities to bring peace to our workplaces, neighbourhoods, and world. This can be in how we respond to situations or by proactively creating and leading peace. Remember, you are not doing it on your own! I pray God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete joy and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. (Romans 15:13). Be courageous! We need you.
Creating a peace-loving community requires all of us to partner together as peace makers and peace keepers. It involves sacrifice but when peace can describe our community, we all benefit.