Pursuit of Peace
Linda Stanbridge of Lexington, MI, USA
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:22-24
In a recent book club discussion on non-violence, a friend mentioned that although the Temple is dedicated to peace, they wished the Temple was dedicated to justice. As I considered for a moment the differences in how we understand and experience peace and justice, I remembered that the Temple actually isn’t dedicated to peace. Our Temple is dedicated to the pursuit of peace. Our Temple is dedicated to the longing, the work, the quest, the struggle toward justice. Our call isn’t only to pray for peace or to hope for justice but rather to willingly, frequently, and even enthusiastically pursue and create peace. Our call is to enter into the struggle of others and take on that struggle as our own.
As I think of the many individuals and groups of individuals in our world who long for peace and justice, I imagine what it might be like for us to unreservedly embrace our call to pursue justice. What would it look like if the church entered eagerly into the struggle of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, BIPOC folk, and the great number of poor among us? What if the church made the struggles of the marginalized the absolute center and purpose of what we do? What if we truly embraced our calling to not only hope but also to bring about justice? What if we truly pursued peace?
Christ’s mission for peace is often understood through Luke 4:18-20. Jesus proclaims good news for the poor, release of the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. This, too, is an invitation! All around us, God is calling us to take notice of the great needs of the world and to pursue reconciliation for the purpose of justice. The Temple is a symbol that points the world toward the purpose of our faith movement; let it also stand as a symbol for the struggle for justice and for our commitment to remain in pursuit of peace for the sake of the world.
“Practice Resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
During this Easter season, we invite you daily into a breath prayer focused on resurrection. With each exhale, respond in a word or phrase to the question, “What is dying?” (fear, anger, assumptions, etc.) With each inhale, notice a response in a word or phrase to the question “What is rising?” (love, courage, trust, etc.) You may choose to use the same word or phrase throughout this season, or let each day bring its own unique response to this sacred pattern of dying and rising that is central to our faith.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.